Tennis legend Serena Williams has written a powerful open letter “to all women who strive for excellence.”
Writing for Porter magazine’s Incredible Women of 2016 issue, Serena discusses the still prevalent problem of gender inequality in sports.
“When I was growing up, I had a dream. My dream wasn’t like that of an average kid, my dream was to be the best tennis player in the world. Not the best ‘female’ tennis player in the world,” the letter begins.
Moving onto the issue of equal pay, Serena is open about her frustrations: “I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts.”
“As we know, women have to break down many barriers on the road to success. One of those barriers is the way we are constantly reminded we are not men, as if it is a flaw. We should always be judged by our achievements, not our gender.”
At the end of the essay, Serena urges women to “continue to dream big and empower the next generation of women to be just as bold in their pursuits.”
Serena’s openness on the topic is important as a 2014 study found that men received more prize money in 30% of sports. In September, the Women on Boards organisation stated that “no real progress” had been made to address the problem and that there was “a long way to go” before equality became a reality.
Hopefully, Serena’s honesty will encourage more high-flying women to encourage others.