Venus Williams, Serena Williams join Billie Jean King equal pay push


A day earlier than taking part in within the 2005 closing on the All England Membership, Venus Williams addressed a gathering of the Grand Slam Board, urging Wimbledon and the French Open to supply equal pay to female and male gamers.

“I said: ‘All of our hearts beat the same. When your eyes are closed, you really can’t tell, next to you, who’s a man and who’s a woman.’ And [I asked them] to think about their daughters and their wives and sisters. How would they like them to be treated?” Williams recalled. “Sometimes, we lose track of, and don’t even realize, our own bias and our own prejudice. And we have to confront ourselves.”

The next afternoon, she gained one in every of her seven main singles championships. A yr later, Wimbledon introduced it will, certainly, supply the identical prize cash to women and men in all rounds of the event, and the French Open quickly adopted go well with, eliminating the pay hole on the 4 majors.

Now, Williams and her sister, Serena Williams, are including their names and voices to the push for equal pay throughout all varieties of jobs that the Billie Jean King Management Initiative (BJKLI) is championing.

The 2 present tennis stars are becoming a member of the advisory board of the group based by the previous participant, and Tuesday’s announcement was timed to coincide with Equal Pay Day, which approximates how far into a brand new yr a lady should work to earn what a person made by the earlier Dec. 31.

“Venus, in particular, helped us get equal prize money in the majors. She was amazing. She really got Wimbledon to make the big step,” King mentioned in a phone interview. “Venus has always had the courage to step up. And Serena’s the same way. They step up. I mean, Serena is not afraid to say whatever is on her mind.”

Added King: “They’ve been through a lot themselves, so they totally understand what’s going on. The two of them have transcended sports. The BJKLI is not about sports. It’s about every industry. To try to get equal pay for equal work, and that means across the board, from CEOs down to entry level.”

Her group was fashioned in 2014, and different advisory board members embody 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, former NBA participant Jason Collins, singer Elton John and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

It was a fairly simple promote for King so as to add the Williams siblings, house owners of a mixed 30 Grand Slam singles titles, together with one other 14 they’ve gained collectively in doubles.

“We always put our hands up for Billie. We love her. She has a tremendous history, not just in women’s tennis, but in leading rights for people, in general, no matter who they were,” Venus Williams mentioned. “Billie could be at the point in her life now where she could say, ‘Hey, I’m going to sit back and enjoy my life.’ But she’s still working hard for others. And that’s a prime example for every single person. Your work on this earth never ends, as long as there is inequality.”

King, for her half, appears to be like on the Williams sisters as amongst those that can keep on the work she began many years in the past.

“I am in my 70s, so I am looking to younger people to take up the mill as I phase out over time,” King mentioned. “I’ve got energy right now, so we’re teeing everything up so we’re in great shape for the legacy of the BJKLI, because I want it to have a life after I’m out of here.”

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