The disparity in workplace earnings between men and women is a well-documented fact that regularly gets swept under the rug. Despite all attempts to decrease the gap, women continue to get a smaller piece of the pie.
To use the ridiculous excuse that women aren’t as competitive, or that their games can’t generate the same revenue, is a downright scapegoat. It’s time to open our eyes: Among the world’s highest paid professional athletes, not one woman even ranks among the top 100.
The U.S. women’s soccer team filed a grievance with the U.S. Soccer Federation back in 2016, citing how they were being paid 40-percent less than member’s of the men’s team.
The U.S. women’s team brings more money into U.S. soccer than the men, have won more World Cup and Olympic Games, and are overall far better than a men’s program that couldn’t even qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Ultimately, the women won their case to earn more money and closed the gap, yet they STILL make less than the men in terms of both base salary and bonus incentives.
It seems like no matter how powerful the strides are that women have made, the men who control the sports world are reluctant to give women a fair seat at the table financially.
Here are the ten women named by Forbes as the highest paid female athletes of 2018:
10. Angelique Kerber — Total earnings: $7 million
9. Danica Patrick — Total earnings: $7.5 million
8. Simona Halep — Total earnings: $7.7 million
7. P.V. Sindhu — Total earnings: $8.5 million
6. Venus Williams — Total earnings: $10.2 million
5. Maria Sharapova — Total earnings: $10.5 million
4. Garbine Muguruza — Total earnings: $11 million
3. Sloane Stephens — Total earnings: $11.2 million
2. Caroline Wozniacki — Total earnings: $13 million
1. Serena Williams — Total earnings: $18.1 million
Those numbers include both prize money and endorsement deals.
Danica Patrick, a retired professional race car driver, and P.V. Sindhu, the Indian badminton player who became the first female athlete from India to win a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, are the only non-tennis players to make the list.
Not a single female soccer player is named. No one in the WNBA made it. Did you even know that there are two major women’s professional hockey leagues in North America?
Ready for the bottom six earners on Forbes’ top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world?
T-95: LaMarcus Aldridge — $23.1 million
T-95: Robinson Cano — $23.1 million
T-95: Brook Lopez — $23.1 million
T-95: Masahiro Tanaka— $23.1 million
99: Melvin Ingram— Total earnings: $23 million
100: Nicolas Batum— Total earnings: 22.9 million
For the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA, Batum averaged a dreadful 11.6 points per game last season. Brook Lopez is headed to his third team in four years in 2018. The 35-year-old Robinson Cano was suspended 80 games this year for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Women in the world’s top professional leagues can’t even get close to these third-tier, bottom-feeding athletes.
There’s a serious problem here, and the answer doesn’t lie in the performance of the women’s game — it’s the willingness of media outlets and advertisers to prioritize the men’s game over the women’s and choosing to invest far less time and resources into the women’s game.
It took tennis star Serena Williams becoming the most decorated female athlete to ever walk the planet, and Maria Sharapova getting lucrative endorsement deals from Nike, Head, Porsche and Evian, to even get them in contention with the bottom of the men’s pack.
It’s time to open our eyes to the truth — men aren’t allowing women the opportunity to earn as much as they are.
Call it pride, greed, ego, whatever you want, but the conversation needs to ramp up if this gap is ever going to be closed.