Mithali Raj was asked on the eve of the Women's World Cup who her favourite male cricketer was and her answer is a must read.

Who is Kohlis favourite woman cricketer We dont care and thats Captain Mithali Rajs point Mithali Raj (right) with coach Tushar Arothe; PTI Photo by Shashank Parade
news Sexism Friday, June 23, 2017 - 15:00

At a recent media event on the eve of the Women's World Cup, captain of the Indian cricket team Mithali Raj was asked who her favourite male cricketer was.

A seemingly harmless question, right? Well, not quite.

"Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?" she said, according to a report by ESPNCricInfo.

"I have always been asked who's your favourite cricketer but you should ask them who their favourite female cricketer is," she added, asking not be compared to male cricketers.

Mithali Raj/Facebook

Of course, this is not an uncommon situation.

At Rio, when Andy Murray was asked how he felt about being the first person to win two gold medals at the Olympics, he pointed out that actually, Venus and Serena Williams had won four medals each.

World-over, female sportspersons are often subjected to irrelevant questions such as those relating to their weight, appearance or relationships, unlike their male counterparts who are generally asked about their game and performance.

Remember when Rajdeep Sardesai asked Sania Mirza when she planned to "settle down" and "raise a family"?

Sania, of course, was quick to point out the sexism.

"You sound disappointed I’m not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world. But I’ll answer your question anyway, that’s the question I face all the time as a woman, that all women have to face – the first is marriage and then it’s motherhood. Unfortunately, that’s when we’re settled, and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or number ones in the world we become, we don’t become settled. But eventually it will happen, not right now. And when it does happen I’ll be the first one to tell everybody when I plan to do that," she said.

The 2015 #CoverTheAthlete campaign urged the media to cover both male and female sportspersons equally.

The online campaign was prompted after Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard was asked by a commentator, after a match, if she could "give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?"

However, despite such efforts, women's sports continues to be given second class treatment by officials, fans and sometimes, even sportspersons. In 2016, we had Novak Djokovic question equal prize money being given to male and female tennis players, claiming that since men's sports attracted more spectators, they deserved to be paid more.

When Mithali Raj snapped, therefore, it wasn't just about the irrelevant question but about a history of disrespect and discrimination that women in sports have faced.

ESPN reported that Mithali had said that the women's cricket team still hadn't earned the same recognition as the men's team despite the sport being considered a religion by many in the country.

"There's a lot of difference because we are not a regular on television. Now the BCCI has made an effort that the last two home series have been televised and social media has improved a lot of it but there is a still a lot of catch-up to do in terms of recognition," she said.

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Posted by Vox on Thursday, 18 August 2016