Venus Williams Speaks On Her Mother’s Influence In Fight For Equal Pay

When it comes to tennis legends, the black pairing of Venus Williams and Serena Williams have accomplished so much in the sport that their achievements will be unmatched for a long time.

The Williams sisters have won 30 Grand Slam championships between them (Serena with 23, Venus with 7). They’ve also won 14 Grand Slam titles and three Olympic gold medals while playing doubles together.

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Toward the end of last year, the pair released “King Richard,” a movie that tracked the life of their father, Richard Williams, and starred Will Smith in the title role.

Coming off her success at the recently concluded Oscars, Venus has spoken out in an interview with varietyabout campaigning for wage parity for women in the tennis business for many years when she noticed there was a significant pay discrepancy between the male and female gender.

Venus Williams: ‘My Mom Was An Inspiration’

Venus was raised in a family that had both their father and mother as talented tennis players. While their tough father, Richard, taught Venus and Serena the skills to become world-class athletes, it was their mother’s overwhelming aura and character that also helped drive and mold the sisters in their early years.

“My mom was an inspiration,” Venus recounted to variety “She’s a wonderful, fun lady, strong lady, good tennis player, and a great cook. She’s also very spiritually strong, so it allowed us to have belief and hope and to be calm and not be stressed about the regular worries of the day.”

Furthermore, the former number one revealed that her mother, Oracene Price, instilled in her the necessity of stating the truth and living the truth, which came in handy when she entered the tennis profession. The athlete refused to remain silent about the wage gap between males and females that she saw at the time.

An Eye Opener

Venus described her Wimbledon debut as an eye-opener because she realized that she would not receive the same pay despite her hard work and extensive training to compete and win games.

“Getting there and realizing, ‘Wow, I’m not being paid equally,’ was just definitely a slap in the face to a 16-year-old… It hit me hard,” said Williams.

27th Annual Critics Choice Awards - Venus Williams
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The one half of the Williams duo felt strongly that things needed to change from that point forward, and at the age of 25, she began publicly protesting to reduce the wage gap so that women and men received equal prize money.

However, it took a long time for any significant change to occur, as she had to contend with earning less for her first major singles triumph at Wimbledon in 2000 than Pete Sampras, who earned more for the men’s title.

A Wonderful Moment

Venus’ campaign for equal compensation was ultimately realized seven years after her maiden Wimbledon victory when she became the first woman to be paid similarly to her male counterpart, Roger Federer.

The triumph was “a wonderful moment” for the tennis veteran, not only because she had added to her awards but also because she could now earn equally, and in the same light, women coming after her would enjoy the same benefits.

Venus Williams at Western
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“We have been fighting thousands of years of inequity, so we can’t think that [change] is going to happen overnight.” Venus described the need for pay equality. “We want it to, and we work at a pace so that it could be, theoretically, but it’s about changing minds, changing cultures, changing history, and it’s about not giving up.”

Living Up To Expectations

Venus is 41 years old, but she does not appear to be ready to retire from the sport she loves. She is preparing for her next competition following a break after competing in Wimbledon last July.

Venus Williams arriving at Louis Vuitton show during Paris Fashion Week 2022
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Away from the court, the star player is making waves with her activewear and lifestyle business EleVen, which she founded to empower women to be their best selves in whatever career path they choose.

Overall, Venus has clearly done her hardest to live up to and beyond her mother’s expectations for her, beginning when she and Serena were children and continuing now that they are both grown women with their own roles to play.

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