SJN Hearings: Why women earn less than men in SA cricket

Eddie Khoza, Cricket SA’s Acting Head of Pathways acknowledged that much more needed to be done to grow the women’s game in the country

Eddie Khoza, Cricket SA’s Acting Head of Pathways acknowledged that much more needed to be done to grow the women’s game in the country. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Published Oct 28, 2021


Johannesburg – The Social Justice and Nation Building hearings was told that while the women’s game in South Africa has grown rapidly in the last few years, pay disparities remain between the women’s national players and their male counterparts.

Both Andrew Breetzke, the CEO of the SA Cricketers Association and Eddie Khoza, Cricket SA’s Acting Head of Pathways, acknowledged that much more needed to be done to grow the women’s game in the country.

“The reality is that the Proteas women earn less than the Proteas men – that’s not unique to South Africa, that is (the same) around the world,” Breetzke told the SJN on Thursday. The “benchmark figure” he stated is that the women’s players earn 25% of what the men earn. “That is similar to what happens in the rest of the world.”

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One of the primary reasons for that, is the fact that the women’s team plays far less cricket than the men’s side, with the absence of Test cricket for women another determining factor. In the contracts for men, Test match fees are higher than is the case for the two limited overs formats.

Both Breetzke and Khoza explained how CSA’s main income was generated from broadcast fees, and those fees are exclusively related to the men’s national side. Asked if broadcasters pay for women’s cricket, Khoza said, no. “We actually piggy-back from mens content,” he remarked. “In the last three years, we’ve tried to schedule women’s matches as a curtain raiser to the main game. Initially it was hard for the broadcasters to show women’s matches on its own. Where we are at the moment, is that we’ve made strides, it stands as content on its own now, but we are still not getting any (money) for it.”

“The issue of parity comes back to the income stream. There is no revenue for women’s cricket. Broadcast revenue is only for men’s cricket,” Khoza added.

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And that impacted on salaries.

Transformation Ombud, Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza said the disparity in salaries “was not right,” citing South Africa’s constitution, which demands gender equality. “It seems to me from evidence given here that there is a constraint. Is that commercial or ...why do we seem to be reluctant,” Ntsebeza asked?

“It’s not an issue of reluctance, it’s how deep your pockets are. If your pockets are that deep it's actually easier to maximise the process,” Khoza replied.

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Cricket SA has handed national contracts to 15 women’s players this year, with that figure having steadily increased from the six initially given back in 2014/15 when women’s players first earned professional contracts.

“Women were also included in the Memorandum of Understanding (that Saca signs with Cricket SA) for the first time in 2018. We also negotiated a significant increase in the remuneration of the women, to levels that made it a good career for them and introduced a commercial rights element,” said Breetzke.

Importantly this year, the first semi-professional contracts at domestic level have been handed out, to assist in the development of the sport, and provide more opportunities for players, not contracted nationally. “That is a significant positive development for women’s cricket. They will be semi-professional to increase the number of women playing cricket and earning money from cricket,” Breetzke added.

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As for sponsors, the women’s national team was backed by financial services company, Momentum, which according to Khoza some years back had started noticing that they were getting more value out of backing the women’s national team than they were from sponsoring the men’s domestic 50-over competition. “That was a bold statement,” said Khoza. “Down the line we will eat the fruits of what we are trying to develop at this stage.”


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