TO ALL THE INCREDIBLE WOMEN WHO STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE
Over the course of the past few years, we have witnessed Serena Williams's huge transformation. From being an athlete, who did not always accept her body but kept her insecurities hidden behind her impressive performance results, to what she has become today: a leader for female empowerment in sports (and therefore globally); a woman who is not only comfortable with her body, but who has chosen to speak out and and push other women toward emancipation. Last week, she posted an open letter on her Instagram account, condemning financial disparities. We think it is important to share it here and spread her message...
Because, if the landscape of sports is evolving, certain ways of thinking are still tight. Because female athletes are not often on the covers of magazines or in the press. Because when they are, they face sexist comments, celebrating their bodies instead of their results. It was one of the reasons why we started Inside/Out, an environment dedicated to the celebration of those athletes, their energies, their determination... Not their physical qualities. Let's hope that others will join Serena soon and use their influence and change the game.
“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."