It is happening slowly, but the world is shifting towards an era of equality. We still have a long way to go, but at least there are some signs that things will be better for people who were often underrepresented everywhere in the globe. One of these demographics is women. Women around the world have been fighting very hard for equal rights, and it’s starting to show in various areas, even sports.
The popularity of women’s sports has been rising, but unfortunately, the compensation is still not there yet. Women are yet to be featured amongst the richest athletes in the world, but that doesn’t mean some of them don’t make ridiculous amounts of cash. Here are 10 of the richest female athletes in the world.
10 P.V. Sindhu - $10 Million
Let’s start off this list with a sport not many people might be used to. It is not a mainstream sport in the West, but badminton has a crazy following in Asia. Badminton athletes are treated as heroes in their countries when they bring home Olympic medals, and they get paid like heroes as well.
A perfect example of that is 23-year-old Indian superstar, P.V. Sindhu. She was a silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and her popularity has kept growing since then. Including sponsorships and tournament winnings, she earned around $8.5 million in 2018. Yes, a badminton player can make that kind of cash.
9 Sloane Stephens - $11.2 Million
Another young athlete who has made quite a lot of money early in her career is American tennis player, Sloane Stephens. A 26-year-old out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she burst into the international scene like a comet, winning the 2017 edition of the U.S. Open. On her way to the title, she took down the likes of Madison Keys and Venus Williams.
Stephens has yet to win another grand slam since then, but that surprising result was enough for the current number nine ranked player in the world to pull in some sponsors. In 2018, this young superstar earned around $11.2 million. She has made more than $14.5 million in prize money alone throughout her career.
8 Lorena Ochoa - $15 Million
The list of the richest female athletes in the world is vastly dominated by tennis players. Nevertheless, this does not mean that tennis players are the only women who can make some serious money in the world of sports. Another sport that usually pays well and generates great sponsorship opportunities for their female athletes is golf.
A living testament to that is Mexican golfing legend, Lorena Ochoa. Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017, this British Open winner played golf for quite some time and has career earnings that extrapolate the $14.8 million mark. Ochoa could’ve made a lot more money, but she decided to retire from golf when she was only 28 years old.
7 Caroline Wozniacki - $30 Million
Well, we told you that this was going to be a list dominated by tennis players, and it didn’t take too long for us to fall right back onto the tennis court. Next up on our list, we have the first European name on the rankings. That happens to be 28-year-old Danish tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki.
A former number one player in the world, Wozniacki is a tennis legend and is sure going to be making a good case to enter the tennis Hall of Fame once she retires. A two-time U.S. Open finalist and one-time Australian Open winner, Wozniacki is one of the most popular athletes on the planet, which explains in part the fact that she earned more than $13 million in 2018 alone.
6 Yuna Kim - $21 Million
Now, this is a breath of fresh air. If you are someone who only follows the mainstream sports and is not that much into the Olympics, there is a good chance you have never actually seen a figure skating competition. Well, you might as well start because it turns out these people make quite a lot of money. Just ask 28-year-old South Korean figure skating legend, Yuna Kim.
She sure knows you can make a pretty good living out of the sport as she has made more than $21 million throughout her career figure skating. Still, she worked very hard for that money as one Olympic and two World Championships gold medals do not come without sacrifice.
5 Annika Sörenstam - $40 Million
We have reached our top five, and it brought us back to the two main sports on this list. Rounding up this top five, we have Swedish golfing legend, Annika Sörenstam. Today she is 48 years old and has been away from professional competitions for more than a decade. Nevertheless, Sörenstam is still one of the richest female athletes on the planet.
Once you look at her resume, however, it is not hard to pinpoint why she has more than $22 million in career earnings. This woman won nothing less than 90 international tournaments throughout her career, including 10 majors. Good luck trying to find many male athletes with this kind of resume.
4 Li Na - $16.7 Million
Sometimes this list feels like a ping-pong game between golf and tennis. Those are undoubtedly the two sports you should tell your daughter to start practicing if she tells you she wants to play sports for the money. But when we say there is a lot of money involved, we are not kidding. Another athlete who exemplifies the earning potential of tennis players is tennis Hall of Famer, Li Na.
This Chinese superstar won a pair of majors during her career and her prize money earnings were north of $16.7 million. Still, where she made most of her money was in endorsements. In 2014 alone, she made more than $18 million in endorsements.
3 Danica Patrick - $60 Million
Racing to the third spot on our list we have none other than Danica Sue Patrick. Oh yeah, racing cars is also something you can do to make a lot of money. Patrick has a lot of haters, but she is undoubtedly one of the most famous racecar drivers in the history of the world. She retired from NASCAR after the 2018 Daytona 500, but not without leaving her mark in the history of the sport.
Patrick was as popular as NASCAR drivers come, and she made the money to back it up. She has an estimated net worth of more than $60 million, and she is still only 37 years old.
2 Maria Sharapova - $200 Million
While the eight other women on this list have made ridiculous amounts of money and are examples to be followed when it comes to hard work and brand building in the world of sports, the top two are simply unmatched.
The runner-up on our list, Maria Sharapova, has a net worth of almost $200 million. That is an empire Sharapova has built. She paved the way for a lot of women to make money in sports, especially when it comes to endorsements as she is backed by companies like Porsche and Nike. But it also took a lot of skill as she has five grand slams under her belt.
1 Serena Williams - $180 Million
Number one here should be no surprise. Powerful, fast, skilled, inspiring, there is no shortage of adjectives you can use to describe Serena Williams. This 37-year-old legend from Saginaw, Michigan, has clawed her way to the top and became a symbol of everything good people should stand for. She is a hard worker, she does charity, she takes care of her brand, and above all, she is a winner.
With more than $88.8 million in prize money alone, Williams is the richest female athlete who ever lived, and her net worth will only keep increasing as she keeps winning tournaments and making more than $18 million a year with endorsements.