One of the most famous quotes from 2016 was from Serena Williams, who, when she was called one of the greatest female athletes, responded, “I prefer the word ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time.’” Now, the tennis player is elaborating on that sentiment in an open letter for Porter Magazine’s Incredible Women of 2016 issue.
“My dream was to be the best tennis player in the world. Not the best ‘female’ tennis player in the world,” Williams wrote. “I learned how important it is to fight for a dream and, most importantly, to dream big. My fight began when I was three and I haven’t taken a break since.”
And she points out that some factors could have held her back: “Too often women are not supported enough or are discouraged from choosing their path. I hope together we can change that. For me, it was a question of 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.”
Now, Williams wants other women to address their obstacles in the same way to achieve equity in all fields. “When the subject of equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts. I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you,” she wrote.
“It is my hope that my story, and yours, will inspire all young women out there to push for greatness and follow their dreams with steadfast resilience. We must continue to dream big, and in doing so, we empower the next generation of women to be just as bold in their pursuits.”
Read the full letter at theguardian.com