Fri, Jun 08, 2018 - Page 16 News List

No women athletes on Forbes’ highest-paid sports stars list

Thomson Reuters Foundation, LONDON

No female athletes were on a ranking of the top 100 highest-paid sports stars released by Forbes on Wednesday, in what campaigners said was the latest “stark example” of women being undervalued.

Forbes said that the list had “long been testosterone-heavy,” but it was the first year since 2010 that no women featured on it.

Serena Williams was the sole female representative in the rankings last year and dropped off the new list after taking a break for the birth of her daughter.

“Women are consistently undervalued and sadly this is just one of many very stark examples,” Sam Smethers, chief executive of British equality charity Fawcett Society, told reporters. “Time and again we see men dominating the best-paid roles from the sports field to the boardroom.”

Boxer Floyd Mayweather, whose career earnings amounted to US$1 billion, took top spot for the fourth time in seven years.

Forbes calculates stars’ earnings by combining salaries, bonuses and prize money. Endorsement fees are also added.

“There are two drivers of income for athletes: the amount they get paid and the endorsements that they have,” Nielsen Sports UK managing director Jon Long said. “Females who were on the list in the past were there because of endorsements.”

Other women who previously featured were tennis players Li Na, now retired, and Maria Sharapova, who was kicked out of the ranks last year after a drug suspension.

While interest in some women sports was growing, they lacked the financial backing given to tournaments like the Premier League and NFL, Long said.

As a result, the pay gap is likely to remain, activists said.

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