RANDOM THOUGHTS
Batting for a change
Ranjita BIswas | @twfindia | 13 Oct 2021
Batting for a change
Language, as they say, is not only about the culture of a people expressed through words, oral or written, but also reflect contemporary thoughts and trends.

The case in point is the change adopted in the field of cricket. The hallowed ground of the Marylebone Cricket Club, the flag-bearer of the  ‘gentleman’s game’ since 1787, has given the nod to the word ‘Batter’ in place of ‘Batsman’ bowing to the demand for  gender equality and modern sensibility.

 

And why not? From the days of the greats like Sir Don Bradman, Frank Worrell, Vinoo Mankad,  Vijay Hazare, etc., the world has moved on indeed.

Today Taapsee Pannu is learning different  strokes for a biopic  on Mithali Raj, the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket while Jhulan Goswami goes on bowling people with her skill. The list can go on. ‘The Man of the Match’ has also morphed into ‘Player of the Match’. Point taken, and appreciated.

But a niggling thought lingers, will the change in the language also mean an equally fair playing ground in prize money?

 

Lack of sponsorship , fewer viewers given as an excuse , have made women players, even the best ones at home and abroad, lag behind and get paid much less than their male colleagues.

But a beginning has been made. The women tennis players now play on a level playing  ground  in prize money after  a long battle by stalwarts like Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and many others, in the Hall of Fame. Back in 1970, some tournaments paid women an eighth or even a tenth of what the men made.

 

Today, each of the four Grand Slam events offers equal prize money. Change in language is just a step towards that goal.


Gender coded words have quietly entered the lexicon for some time, anyway. Words like ‘colleague’ or ‘guest’, for example. By now, we are also getting used to a ‘chairperson’ in a meeting instead of ‘chairman’.

More changes are observed with the explosion of digital communication through the social network. It will be interesting to see, say a couple of years from now, how language evolves even more  striving for a gender-equal world.

Image: A file photo of Mithali Raj batting for India women against England/ Creative Commons