There’s not a single female athlete on Forbes’s list of the world’s highest-paid athletes. Not tennis legend Serena Williams, not MMA star Ronda Rousey, not Maria Sharapova, not NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, not a single woman.
Pay disparities take an emotional toll on women and news like this can’t help. It’s basically the sports world’s way of telling athletes who happen to be women that even if they reach the apex of their professional career, they’ll still never be paid as much as, say, “retired” boxer Floyd Mayweather, Boston Red Sox star David Price, rising Real Madrid benchwarmer Gareth Bale, or golfer Jordan Speith or any of the other men on the Forbes list.
Last year, the only woman on the list was Williams, but Williams spent last year having a child, and since Forbes used salary and bonus data between June 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018, she fell from the list. While Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi had a child last year, and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo had three, they were still able to rake in enough money to top the Forbes list, coming in just under Mayweather. Having kids is expensive for women.
Sports Illustrated reports that this is the first time in the history of this list that there are no women ranked in the top 100. While across all sectors it will now take 100 years to reach pay equality, in sports it might take even longer.