Recently, the winners of women’s Pepsi B league won a cash prize of Nu 25,000 while the winners of men’s team took home Nu 40,000 and a fund support of Nu 10,000 to take part in the Pepsi A- league from Bhutan Basketball Federation (BBF).
In all the competition organised by the national sports federations, men and women stand unequal.
Bhutan Football Federation (BFF has the highest difference. The federation has provided only 4.5 percent of the total prize money to the women’s teams.
BFF’s general secretary, Ugyen Wangchuk, said that the distribution of prize money depends on the number of sponsors the competition attracts.
“If we don’t have sponsors, we are left with no choice than to give less prizes,” he said. “The level of competitions and popularity of the competition determines the distribution of prize money. The men’s tournaments are more popular than women’s. The sponsors support top leagues and it is the men’s national league at the moment.”
The federation provides equal support to youth girls and boys’ team under the age of 18 with training, competitions, academy facilities, and scholarship opportunities.
Women’s team taking part in the sports competitions organised by the national sports federations received only 34.2 percent of the prize money while the men’s team received 65.8 percent. About 60 percent of federations provided men teams with higher prize money.
The study included data collected from the prize money given in the competitions held by 10 national federations last year.
Thimphu City’s club player, Dechen Wangmo, said that women’s league should have attractive prizes to encourage women and girls into the sport. “The league conducted once in a year has less prize money. This could be the reason for the fewer turnouts of teams. “Men teams have more tournaments and the prize money was also high. But, one women’s competition has the minimum prizes. We feel discouraged.”
She added that the federation did not provide level playing field in the women’s league as the federation brought in national teams into the league. “All good players were together.”
Sports like football, volleyball and basketball have fewer women teams and the tournaments. Bhutan Shooting Federation, Bhutan Badminton Federation, and Bhutan Amateur Athletic Federation provides equal prize money to men and women teams.
Three time open lawn tennis champions, Tandin Wangmo Dorji, said that men dominate sports because of a superior strength. “Girls lag in strength and feel hesitated to take up sports. Most women play sports in youth stage. Prize money encouraged us to take part but it differs from an individual.”
BBF’s secretary general, Sonam Tobgay, said the federation tried to give equal treatment to men and women’s taking part in the competitions. “Despite low turnouts, we encourage them to take part. We run women’s tournaments at a loss. ”
He said that the federation is focusing on grassroots to improve the situations in the future. “We have a handful of good players today, but we have high hopes for young talents.”
The competition held by national federation was conducted through the fund support from Bhutan Olympic committee, sponsors and entry fees collected from the participating teams.