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Serena Williams Encourages Women to ‘Be Bold’

Serena Williams may just be the GOAT, the greatest tennis player–male or female–of all time. After all, her record speaks for itself. Twenty-two grand slams, four gold medals, and countless other accolades. Her powerful game is unparalleled, and her style is a sight to behold. Still, despite her record, Williams’ skills are regularly questioned and while she’s one of the most popular tennis players in the world, she’s faced her own brand of sexism and racism.

One major issue? Female tennis players earn less prize money than their male counterparts, something Williams has spoken out against for years. Now, the star has written an open letter in the latest issue of Porter Magazine encouraging young women to “dream big” and “be bold,” in spite of the challenges they face.

Via the Guardian:

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.

Serena Williams

 What do you think of Serena Williams’ letter?