Venus Williams was the first African American female tennis player of the Open Era to occupy the first position in the WTA ranking. In the decade 2000-2010 she was the most successful player in Wimbledon, with 5 wins out of 8 finals (4 of which were consecutive, from 2000 to 2003) and she is one of the five tennis players (after Martina Navrátilová, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams and Billie Jean King) who have achieved this amazing result.
In a long interview with Kathy Caprino of Forbes, the former World number 1 discussed her battle for the rights of female athletes: "For me it was simple and clear; it was about standing up for what I believed was right.
Tennis has given me so much opportunity in life, including a platform, so when the opportunity came to fight for women across the sport it was an easy decision. I spoke up for both myself and people everywhere who were facing or will face, the same kind of injustice in their lives.
I’m glad it was able to create a ripple effect and set a precedent. So much positive change has happened since then, and so much positive change is still needed, but I’m happy I was able to do my part and will continue to do so until it doesn’t need to be a conversation anymore.
It’s incredible to see how the conversations around equal pay have evolved over the years—it’s a global issue that has finally become a global movement. But the fact that it is still even a conversation means there is still work to be done.
Pay disparity is just one element of the overarching issue of inequality, which so many people are too familiar with. I will be really happy when the differences between men and women don’t have to be a discussion anymore and everyone is loved and respected for the person they are" - Venus said.