The sultry ladies of sports aren't simply sexy—they know a thing or two about working out, working hard, and working a crowd.
Throughout the world, most top female athletes are not paid, and work full-time or part-time jobs in addition to their training, practice and competition schedules.
Women's professional sports organizations defy this trend.
Such organizations are relatively new, and are most common in very economically developed countries, where investors are available to buy teams, and businesses can afford to sponsor them in exchange for publicity and promotion of their products.
Very few governments support professional sports, male or female.
Beginning in the late 1960s, a few women gained enough recognition for their athletic talent and social acceptance as role models to earn a living playing sports. Among them was Joan Weston, a roller derby star who was once the highest paid female in sports, but she was the exception rather than the rule.
Things began to change in 1973 when Billie Jean King won "the Battle of the Sexes" and cracked the glass ceiling on pay for female athletes.
Other players, like Martina Navratilova, broke through that ceiling, decreasing the gap between women and men athlete's pay on a regular basis rather than occasionally.
Even now, in the 21st century, most professional women athletes around the world receive very little notoriety or pay compared to men.
Life acknowledged the importance of King's achievement in 1990 by naming her one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century." Though women have been pro athletes in the United States, since the early 1900s, paid teams, leagues and athletes are still uncommon and, as of 2013, paid far less than their male counterparts.