It is pretty common knowledge that athletes make a lot of money. It is also not a surprise that, as in most fields, women don’t make as much as men. Society in general is still pretty tied to the notion that, for some reason, women don’t need as much money as men. Traditionally, men were the providers for their families and had to make the money that was necessary to purchase homes, vehicles, food and clothing for their loved ones. However, some of these female athletes aren’t married. So does that mean they deserve less money? Also, some of these female sports stars have children. Do people expect them to care for their families with less money than they’d make if they were men?
I digress. The point is that there are some women in athletics who are making tons of money for being great at what they do. Some of these women have been trailblazers in their sport, and have inspired countless young girls to be bold and fearless in their athletic pursuits. We can get back to the wage disparity a little later, but for now, let’s focus on the 11 female athletes who make the most cash.
11 Ronda Rousey ($2 million)
10 Ana Ivanovic ($7 million)
9 Caroline Wozniacki ($12 million)
Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki is the first woman from Denmark to earn a top ranking in the sport. She was the WTA’s Newcomer of the Year in 2008, and went to her first major final at the U.S. Open in 2009. Wozniacki comes from an athletic family; her mom was a volleyball player and her dad was a soccer player. Her older brother also plays soccer. Caroline’s father has also coached her, and she counts tennis players such as Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis as her athletic inspirations. Wozniacki was also romantically linked to Rory McIlroy, but the two called off their engagement in 2014.
8 Agnieszka Radwanska ($14.7 million)
7 Victoria Azarenka ($15 million)
6 Li Na ($15 million)
5 Danica Patrick ($18 million)
4 Kim Yu-Na ($21 million)
3 Venus Williams ($75 million)
2 Serena Williams ($145 million)
1 Maria Sharapova ($195 million)
Maria Sharapova won the French Open in 2012 and 2014, which resulted in a Career Grand Slam for her. She is the sixth female tennis player to accomplish this impressive feat. Maria started playing tennis as a young child, and when she was nine years old, she traveled with her father to Florida for tennis camp. Sharapova became a professional player at the age of 14. She also has an endorsement deal with Nike, which is the highest paying advertisement deal in women’s tennis. In 2011, her Maria Sharapova Collection, which is produced by Cole Haan and includes accessories and shoes, doubled in profits in 2011. In 2012, the tennis star won the silver medal in women’s singles at the Summer Olympics.