Speaking on Episode 105 of The iSeekGolf Podcast, MacLaren - who has won the past two Women's NSW Opens - said many men's players may not realise the extent of purse inequality at the game's highest level.
“You don’t want it to be, it has to be the men talking for anything to happen but unfortunately that’s the level of attention and publicity they get and sort of the respect that they command, it probably would take that for people to really sit up and take notice," MacLaren said.
MacLaren is currently second on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit, has made the cut in all six events she's played this year and earned just over €14,048 (AUD$22,200) for winning last month's Women's NSW Open at Queanbeyan Golf Club.
The 24-year-old has been a vocal critic of the inferior prize purses on offer on Europe's top women's circuit compared with the continent's burgeoning men's European Tour.
“Whenever I first spoke out about this, it was during the Abu Dhabi events [in January] and I was like, why doesn’t a reporter just put it to one of the guys that they’re playing for 25 times the prize fund that we were and see what they think?
“I think a lot of them don’t even realise because they’re so wrapped up in their own careers."
In January, MacLaren pocketed the equivalent of just over $2612 for finishing equal 41st at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Open in Abu Dhabi which had a total prize purse of USD$300,000.
Men's players who shared 42nd at the following week's USD$7 million Abu Dhabi Championship on the European Tour made the equivalent of more than $53,454.
3/8 “Do you have any thought or concern about the fact your female counterparts were playing a week ago, at a course 20 miles from here, for 4% of your prize fund?”— Meghan MacLaren (@meg_maclaren) January 18, 2019
Reigning Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari set himself apart from many of his colleagues recently when he advocated for the oldest major in men's golf to have the same prize fund as the Women's British Open.
“It’s not only golf, clearly, it’s society, and we need to aim for having the same opportunities and the same prize fund in this eventually,” Molinari said last month.
“What we can do as players is support the ladies’ tour.
“But I think the main thing is the exposure they get. It’s nowhere near where it should be, and that creates less interest in sponsors, less money.”
The iSeekGolf Podcast's Adrian Logue said he could barely recall an instance of a men's star of Molinari's ilk speaking out about golf's gender prize money gap.
“I just wish there was a way a high profile men’s golfer could just be a little bit more vocal more frequently about the pay inequality," Logue said.
"You see it in tennis in very simple ways. In tennis, where the situation is a lot better, you still have someone like an Andy Murray or somebody just in very small ways sticking up for the women’s game.
“But you just get nothing out of the top men golfers.”
MacLaren added: “I think tennis doesn’t realise just how important Andy Murray was in that sense because he never had to do any of those things or call out the media in press conferences but it was just part of who he was."
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