• FWX March qtr  -1.6% (72.2pts)
  • FWX y-o-y change  0.9% (72.2pts)
  • Total timeframe to Gender Equality  59
  • Timeframe to Equality on Employment  28 years
  • Timeframe to Equality on Underemployment  15.5 years
  • Timeframe to Equality on Gender Pay Gap  22 years
  • Timeframe to Equality on Unpaid Work  59 years
  • Timeframe to Equality for Women On Boards  6.5 years
  • Timeframe to Equality on Superannuation  19 years
  • Gender Pay Gap 2021  13.9%
  • Gender Pay Gap sub-index 2021  (86pts)
  • Employment sub-index 2021  1.2pts (72pts)
  • Superannuation sub-index  5.4pts (74.6pts)
  • Gender Gap Superannuation  25%
  • Underemployment Rate sub-index  -8.1pts (74.6pts)
  • Education sub-index  92pts
  • ASX 200 Women On Boards sub-index  69pts
  • ASX 200 Women On Boards  34.5%
  • Unpaid Work sub-index  67pts

Highest paid female athletes earn less than top male athlete

Ash Barty
January 17, 2022

The world’s ten highest-paid female athletes may have earned 23% more in 2021 but they still face significant gender pay disparities.

For all the small steps of progress that are being made to close the gender gap in professional sports, utopia appears constantly out of reach as off the court endorsements just get even bigger for male athletes.

Compared to the top ten highest paid athletes for 21, all of whom were men, women earned a combined $US167 million, which is less that the top earning male athlete, UFC champion Conor McGregor, who collected $US180 million in 2021, most of which came from $US158 million in out of the ring endorsements because he didn’t do that much fighting.

According to the latest sports earnings list by Forbes the highest paid female athletes now earn more than ever, up 16% jump from the prior record of $US143.3 million set in 2013.

By contrast, the highest paid male athletes collected $US1.05 billion during the course of 2021, that’s up 28% in a 12 month period.

Australia’s Ash Barty came in 8th place despite being the world’s top-ranked player and the reigning Wimbledon champion. The 25-year-old was pipped by fellow tennis star Naomi Osaka, who earned $US57.3 million – said to be a calendar-year record for a female athlete.

24 year-old Osaka saw her rankings slip to 13th in 2021 and whilst her on-court earnings fell with it, most of her money came from sponsorships and endorsements including from high-end brands Louis Vuitton, Sweetgreen and Tag Heuer.

But back to Ash Barty. What’s also interesting here is that according to Forbes, the 25-year-old, who recently signed a sponsorship deal with Marriott Bonvoy, experienced a significant pay gap when she won the Western & Southern Open outside Cincinnati in August. She took home $US255,220 for the victory, whereas the men’s champion at the same tournament, Alexander Zverev, collected $US654,815.

Serena Williams was the second best paid with $US45.9 million and together with Osaka account for virtually all of the 23% yearly increase in women’s earnings.

Williams played only six WTA Tour tournaments and her rankings fell to 41st but she is still a powerhouse to watch on the court and a major drawcard for fans. Plus brands like her and she remains supported by Nike, Gatorade and, most recently, DirecTV, according to Forbes.

Indeed the threshold for the top ten of the women’s list is actually a tad lower than it was a decade ago—$US5.7 million, down from $US6.1 million in 2012.


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January 17, 2022
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