In a recent essay for British Vogue, the five-time Wimbledon champion wrote about how she's using her platform to advocate for equal pay.
The piece opened with Williams looking back at her first Wimbledon win in 2000. The tennis star recalled how she was "struck by the inequality," writing that the men's singles champion received £477,500 while the women's singles champion received £430,000. Ever since then, Williams has been calling for change.
In 2007, Williams won her fourth Wimbledon tournament and became the first female Wimbledon champion to receive the same amount of prize money as her male counterparts. Today, equal prize money is awarded to men and women at the majors and combined events in tennis. However, Williams knows there is still a long way to go.
"I firmly believe that sport mirrors life and life mirrors sport," the athlete wrote. "The lack of equality and equal opportunities in tennis is a symptom of the obstacles women face around the world. While Nordic countries such as Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland demonstrate some of the lowest disparities in pay between men and women, Turkey, Bahrain and Nigeria are some of the highest. In the US, women made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019."
"Some fixes can be implemented more quickly than others," she added. "For a start, while women are often underrepresented in senior positions in firms, they are overrepresented in low-paying jobs so increasing the minimum wage is a priority. Then there's the urgent need for transparency; if women don't know they aren't being paid fairly, how can they do anything about it? Childcare and medical leave also need to be expanded to create equal opportunities for women as they are more likely to take time off work to look after their family."
She wrote that men need to be a part of the conversations and solutions, too. "Sexism isn't a women's issue any more than racism is a Black issue," Williams stated. "Men need to understand gender equality is about equal opportunities for women rather than men relinquishing power."
This month, Williams launched the #PrivilegeTax campaign—an initiative in which customers of participating brands (including Nordstrom, Tracy Anderson, Tom Brady's TB12, Carbon38, Credo Beauty and Williams' Happy Viking and Eleven by Venus Williams) can donate 19 cents at checkout and have 100 percent of these proceeds go to Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles.
Read her full essay via British Vogue.