Venus Williams Pens Powerful Essay on Gender Equality, Announces Campaign to Advocate for Equal Pay
"Sexism isn't a women's issue any more than racism is a Black issue," the five-time Wimbledon champion wrote for British Vogue
Venus Williams is once again lending her voice to the movement for gender equality.
The five-time Wimbledon champion penned a moving essay for British Vogue on Monday about using her platform to advocate for equal pay.
In 2007, Williams became the first woman to receive equal prize money to her male counterparts. While men and women now get equal prize money at the majors and combined events, Williams said there is still a long way to go in the sport and across all industries to make sure women are valued in their fields.
"There is still a mindset that women's tennis isn't as valuable as men's," she wrote. As four-time Olympic gold medalist, Williams said "we must not allow [that mindset] to dictate society's progress."
"I firmly believe that sport mirrors life and life mirrors sport," Williams wrote. "The lack of equality and equal opportunities in tennis is a symptom of the obstacles women face around the world."
The tennis player added that, in the United States, women made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019. Inspired by that "shocking" statistic, Williams said she is initiating a campaign called #PrivilegeTax.
Ahead of Equal Pay Day on March 24, customers at participating brands can donate 19 cents at checkout to benefit the Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles organization. Brands partnering with Williams for the campaign include Nordstrom, Tracy Anderson, Tom Brady's TB12, Carbon38, Credo Beauty and Happy Viking.
In addition to making sure that women are paid the same amount as men for equal work, Williams said closing the gender pay gap must include other solutions, including raising the minimum wage, expanding childcare and medical care, and hiring women for senior positions.
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Williams also encouraged men to join her in advocating for equal pay, writing "None of these things are possible without men being part of the solution."
"Sexism isn't a women's issue any more than racism is a Black issue," she wrote. "Men need to understand gender equality is about equal opportunities for women rather than men relinquishing power."