— Two of the greatest tennis stars are taking a stand to encourage women to pursue their passions and push for equal pay. Serena Williams writes in an open letter published in Porter Magazine’s “Incredible Women of 2016,” about overcoming obstacles in her path. Billie Jean King, founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, was interviewed on NBC’s Good Morning America about her new campaign to achieve gender equality in the workplace.
In her letter “We must continue to dream big,” Williams points out that women often are not supported enough or are discouraged from choosing their path. What counteracted that for her was resilience. “What others marked as flaws or disadvantages about myself – my race, my gender – I embraced as fuel for my success. I never let anything or anyone define me or my potential. I controlled my future.”
King has joined with Marc Benioff, philanthropist and CEO of Salesforce, to bring attention to the ways CEOs need to “fight for their employees and for equality.” King’s Initiative honored Benioff in 2016 with its Inspiring Leader Award for “opening his company’s books,” recognizing his female employees were being paid less than his male employees, and “with one push of button,” making their pay equal. King has been working for women’s equality for four decades, and says, “You dream big. But then you do it.”
King was an accomplished player on the Women’s Tour in the 1970s. In 1973 possibly her most famous match took place when she beat Bobby Riggs, a former Wimbledon winner who had launched a barrage of insults at women players, saying he could still beat any of them. In the famous “Battle of the Sexes,” King won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in front of more than 30,000 fans at the Houston Astrodome, then the largest crowd ever to watch a tennis match.