Serving for female financial empowerment with Chris Evert

Talking about money can be hard, especially considering what so many women contend with when it comes to finances.

  • American women typically earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, and the disparity is even worse for BIPOC women.
  • Female athletes still have one of the steepest gender pay gaps, with male athletes making anywhere from 15% to 100% (!!!) more than their female counterparts. Not to mention not a single woman cracked ForbesHighest Paid Athletes list for 2023.
  • And finally, despite women controlling 85% of their household spending, many don’t feel empowered to take control of their personal wealth. In fact, fewer than 20% of women manage their own finances.

But that’s where Morgan Stanley’s “What Moves You” program comes in.

Designed for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Morgan Stanley is working to help WTA players achieve financial confidence so that they can focus on taking care of business on the court.

Given tennis’ groundbreaking history, it’s no wonder Morgan Stanley teamed up with the WTA.

  • Tennis has always been at the forefront of the fight for equal pay in women’s sports. In 1970, the “Original 9” — which included equal pay icon Billie Jean King (BJK) — launched a breakaway tennis tour in protest of the inequality in prize money between male and female tennis players. Three years later, the WTA was founded on the eve of Wimbledon, when nearly 60 players led by BJK teamed up to give women’s pro tennis a stronger, unified presence.
  • Nowadays, the US Open and several other combined WTA and ATP events offer equal prize money, but the WTA is still pushing for progress, setting its sights on full equal pay by 2033.

And the partnerships don’t stop there. Morgan Stanley’s now collaborating with 18-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion and former WTA president Chris Evert, the first-ever female athlete to earn $1M in prize money.

  • The GIST sat down with Evert to discuss her financial journey, why it’s so important for women (athletes and non-athletes alike) to take control of their finances, and what she sees next in women’s sports. Game, set, here we go.

When asked to reflect about the future of women’s sports, Evert said, “I see more women athletes. The beauty of it is [that] 50 years ago a little girl never even thought of becoming an athlete…little girls grow up now and they want to become athletes because they look on the TV and they see the muscles and they see the strength and they see the empowerment and they see all of the gifts that you get from being a woman and an athlete.” Beyond inspiring.

But that potential depends on equal investment and opportunity, a sentiment Evert echoed: “The money in women’s sports is growing, the endorsements are growing. It’s just now [that] women athletes are finally looked up to and respected. I think that’s going to be the career that little girls want to have.”

And when those little girls grow up, they’ll hopefully be living in a world where women feel empowered to take full control of their financial health. Evert offered some tangible advice for those just getting started. “Pick somebody that you really trust, ask a lot of questions and sit for a couple of hours and learn the trade,” she said.

“Because…knowledge is power. And in order to make educated decisions about your money and have some common sense about it, you really have to focus and pay attention.” Just like Evert trained so hard at her game, there are no shortcuts when it comes to sorting your finances — but you don’t have to do it alone.

At this point you might be wondering where you can start. Look no further than Morgan Stanley’s “What Moves You” page. Created for female tennis players, it offers lots of insights for you too. With podcasts, articles, and more on topics such as saving and budgeting, you’ll feel inspired and empowered to take on whatever life serves your way.

Last but not least, as Evert says, “Be an advocate for yourself. You’re responsible for yourself. Don’t be afraid.” Time to jump in headfirst, fearless.