Five-time Wimbledon champion, Venus Williams is opening up about global pay equality after she became the first female tennis player to receive equal prize money to her male counterpart…

In a powerful essay in Vogue, she describes her first encounter with pay inequality in 2000 when she won at Wimbledon for the first time – but the women’s prize money was substantially less than the male’s. It got Venus wondering about the huge gender pay gap.

“I firmly believe that sport mirrors life and life mirrors sport. The lack of equality and equal opportunities in tennis is a symptom of the obstacles women face around the world.”

Venus is campaigning for equality across the board and believes it needs to happen at an international, national and corporate level. The predicted 257 years it will take to close the gap according to the World Economic Forum is far too long says Venus and the future female generations are depending on us.

 

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The pandemic effects have also been far-reaching for women as opposed to men, being victims of increased gender-based violence, job losses and pay cuts over the past year.

But for things to change admits Venus, men need to be part of the solution; men need to acknowledge the problem and understand that the fight for equality is not a quest to relinquish their “power.”

“Sexism isn’t a women’s issue any more than racism is a black issue,” writes Venus.

Venus also discusses how women of colour are most affected by the wage gap and as a person of colour the effects are twofold.

“As an African-American woman, to know how hard we have to fight to show we’re human beings with a heart that beats just like everybody else; to know what it’s like to face biases based on gender and race is why I’m so passionate about campaigning for equality across the board.”

The 39-year-old tennis champion firmly believes change is possible as she has been a catalyst herself – having become the first woman to take home an equal cash prize to the male player since the sport became inclusive of women in 1968.

Read the rest of Venus’s powerful essay HERE

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