Venus Williams Talks Closing the Gender Pay Gap
“I don’t want any other young women to have to face that.”
The initiative gives customers the option to donate $1 USD when they make a purchase from any participating companies, including Williams’ clothing brand EleVen. All of the funds go towards Girls Inc., a nonprofit that centers on creating more opportunities for young women.
The tennis star made headlines in 2006 when she became the first woman to receive the same prize money as Roger Federer at Wimbledon. However, her journey has not been easy — Williams claims that she “came into inequality at the young age of 16” during her first Grand Slam tournament. “I don’t want any other young women to have to face that,” she shared. “Women are earning 82 cents to the dollar that men are earning. If you’re a minority, [or] living out of the country, it gets even worse.”
Williams also acknowledges that the pay gap she is working to close is harder for women of color. She said: “That gap widens when you’re a Black woman, a woman of minority. I’m just very happy that as an African-American woman I can speak to this and make this known.” The athlete continued: “It’s a very important role that I never thought I’d play. I just wanted to win Wimbledon! I got there, it wasn’t equal, and it’s just led me to this place where I’m able to do more than I ever thought I could do.”
Elsewhere, the tennis star touched upon her childhood journey in the Oscar-nominated biopic King Richard featuring her sister Serena Williams. When asked who she hopes will snag the Best Actor title at the award ceremony, she responded: “Maybe Will Smith? He just portrayed my dad so closely [...] There were moments where we were listening to the livestream or watching [it] being filmed, and I would hear my dad’s voice and it gave me goosebumps, how close he got to my father.”