Dipika Pallikal is the 18th ranked female squash player in the world, and the top ranked Indian player. She made the decision to take a stand and protest the inequality of prize money that is offered to the male and female squash players.
In 2011, Pallikal won the Nationals. For the past three years, she has refused to participate in the tournament because the male winners are given a bigger prize than the female winners. Pallikal had hoped to play this year, especially since the Nationals are taking place in Kerala, where she has her roots. However, the gender inequality still exists in squash, and Pallikal has chosen to sit out the tournament once again.
The 23-year-old Pallikal explained: “The reason is the same why I haven’t played in the last three years. I feel we deserve equal pay like most of the tournaments which are becoming equal prize money on the PSA professional circuit.”
She further noted: “I don’t see why there should be a difference between men and women. I would have loved to play in Kerala and definitely miss playing the Nationals.”
While Pallikal is based in Chennail, with roots in Kerala, not only is she saddened that she is not playing in the tournament, the secretary of the Squash Rackets Federation, Anish Mathew, said that the popularity of the tournament would have had a big boost had she been playing.
Mathew said: “Everyone has been asking about her. It would have been great to have her playing. Having said that, we respect her decision.”
Although men and women used to have different values of prize money internationally, the PSA World Series tournaments have begun to award equal money.
Pallikal posed the question: “If women started getting equal prize money at professional tournaments around the world, why can’t they same happen in India?”