Zero women on Forbes' 100 highest paid athletes in the world

Zero women on Forbes’ 100 highest paid athletes in the world

For the first time no women are on Forbes’ 100 highest paid athletes in the world. That means that in 2017, 100 of the top 100 paid athletes in the world were men and none were women.

The 100 highest earning sports stars come from 22 countries, compete in 11 sports and earned a cumulative $3.8 billion, with 23% of that coming from endorsements. And none of them are women.

To quote the UK Telegraph’s athletics correspondent Ben Bloom: “What a damning indictment of the enormous disparity between men/women’s sport.”


Attempting to filter the list for women is an exercise in extreme disappointment.

The fact it isn’t surprising is exactly why sports writer, Matt Butler, says it’s so shocking.

“We know the reasons why women don’t earn as much as men,” he writes. “In some instances, their sports are not deemed as attractive by broadcasters or endorsers. Television audiences are smaller. And in most cases, the prize money is dwarfed by that of men’s. But just because we know why doesn’t make it right. Because female athletes should be as marketable as their male counterparts.”

Previously tennis champion Serena Williams had been flying the female flag and was the only woman included in the 2016 list.

Despite having almost year off competitive tennis on account of having her daughter, the 23-time grand-slam champion still earned an estimated $18 million in sponsorship last year. But that was not enough for a spot on Forbes’ list.

It is a reminder that the chasm between men and women’s earnings in sport is diabolical. The fact the very top earner on the list, Floyd Mayweather, is a convicted abuser is the salt in the wound.

Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox