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Serving Up Equality: The Quest in Women’s Tennis

By Tate Frederick, IV Form

Serving Up Equality: The Quest in Women’s Tennis

With the rampant gender inequality in professional sports, tennis could easily be considered one of the least sexist due to its recently equalized prize money. In fact, the World Economic Forum recently wrote that “the Women’s Tennis Association [is] pushing the women’s game and pioneering gender equality” (Edmond). Contrary to public perception, the professional tennis circuit still has to make significant improvements in order to achieve gender equality. The financial distribution still heavily favors men, some of the rules perpetuate sexist values, and unfair stereotyping of female players is frequent.

Despite the fact that prize money became equal in 2007, women still make far less than male players.  On the Forbes’ list of top-earning athletes, Serena Williams only comes in 51st, behind five male players, even though she has won more grand slam titles than any player, regardless of gender, in history, and holds endorsements with companies such as Nike, Gatorade, and JPMorganChase (Wang).  Williams has earned tens of millions of dollars less than Novak Djokovic even though she has won many more titles than he has (Macur), due to the overall amount of prize money.  If Williams, arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time, can’t achieve equal pay in comparison to her less-winning counterparts, where is the hope for women in less acclaimed positions?  By maintaining this inequality, the tennis circuit is discouraging and discrediting the achievements of women in the sport. (more…)