One of the arenas that has the starkest gender pay gap is sports. The top male athletes earn an enormous amount compared to their female counterparts, and not a single female athlete appeared on Forbes’s Top 100 World’s Highest-Paid Athletes list.
Tennis player Serena Williams is the highest-paid female athlete, but she earned most of her money from endorsements, $18.1 million. The most famous female tennis player only earned $62,000 in prize money in 2018 after some rough performances.
The top six best-paid female athletes all play tennis, and some of their prize money totals are quite impressive. Caroline Wozniacki took home $7 million for her on-court performances.
But outside of tennis, most other sports are far less lucrative for women. Soccer is one of the world’s biggest sports, and players like Messi, Ronaldo, and Paul Pogba pull in insane salaries to play the game. But, their female counterparts are still struggling for equal pay when they represent their country on the international stage.
Some countries have taken the step to pay their female national teams the same amount as their male national teams, but still, some of the world’s most well-known female soccer stars are battling for equal pay. The United States Women’s National Team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against their employers for the disparity in pay.
However, it does not end with pay for the reigning World Cup champions, the American women’s team is also concerned with the medical treatment they receive and the poor conditions they often have to play in.
“We’ve always, dating back to forever, been a team that stood up for itself and fought hard for what it felt it deserved and tried to leave the game in a better place,” star midfielder Megan Rapinoe told The New York Times.
While the women in the soccer world continue to fight their fight for equal pay and treatment, many other sports have it even worse in terms of gender pay disparity.
Formula 1 teams in the United Kingdom have been under fire for the high rate of gender pay gap between male and female employees. Some have up to a 25% gap between male and female employees.
And then there are individual sports which women are just starting to break into, but still, often face being the only woman in a competition full of men. Danica Patrick broke this mold in NASCAR, and several others are doing it other sports.
Vanessa Selbst is the top-earning female in the sport of poker, and she is going all in to break the monopoly of men in the sport. Chinese chess player Hou Yifan has also made waves in her game, by being the best contemporary women’s chess player and taking on a game dominated by men.
Overall, women still have a lot of ground to gain in terms of pay in sports. But, many women across the world are trying to fight their way for money, and the next generation of athletes is likely to reap the rewards.