Serena Williams Encourages Women To Dream Big In New Open Letter
Dec. 1 2016, Published 10:44 a.m. ET
Out tomorrow in Porter Magazine’s ‘Incredible Women of 2016’ issue, tennis champion Serena Williams shares an open letter inspiring women to dream big, break barriers, and never settle for less.
In our post-Trump nation, women everywhere have been working to streghthen together, now more than ever. From penning letters and speaking out, in her letter Serena outlines the realities of being judged primarily as female before an athlete, not to mention the color of her skin or where she’s from.
She reminds women, “We should never let this go unchallenged. We should always be judged by our achievements, not by our gender,” especially when it comes to our paychecks.
In hopes of encouraging all women to join together and empower one another, she ends the letter writing,”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 her full letter from reprinted from Porter Magazine below:
To all incredible women who strive for excellence,
When I was growing up, I had a dream. I’m sure you did, too. My dream wasn’t like that of an average kid, my dream was to be the best tennis player in the world. Not the best “female” tennis player in the world.
I was fortunate to have a family that supported my dream and encouraged me to follow it. I learned not to be afraid. 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.
But as we know, 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.
So 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.
As we know, women have to break down many barriers on the road to success. One of those barriers is the way we are constantly reminded we are not men, as if it is a flaw. People call me one of the “world’s greatest female athletes”. Do they say LeBron is one of the world’s best male athletes? Is Tiger? Federer? Why not? They are certainly not female. We should never let this go unchallenged. We should always be judged by our achievements, not by our gender.
For everything I’ve achieved in my life, I am profoundly grateful to have experienced the highs and lows that come with success. 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.