Venus Williams is fighting a new battle off the courts to shed light on pay inequity.
In an interview with E! News on Equal Pay Day, Williams gets candid about her experience at the Grand Slams, which is where the tennis star realized she was under-compensated in comparison to male athletes.
The reality was hard to grapple with, leading Venus Williams to use her influence in hopes of a more hopeful future for young women. To do so, Venus William’s company EleVen, is spearheading the #PrivilegeTax movement, and Credit Karma, Twilio and A&E have hopped on board, Vanity Fair reports.
“The #PrivilegeTax movement is what we’ve coined as this real data that shows that women only make 82 cents for every dollar that men make and it’s a serious problem,” Venus Williams told E! News. “I’m very passionate about it because this happened to me.”
She continued: “I’m very excited to be partnering with many companies to close this gap, to raise awareness, to raise money at a grassroots level and also partner with Credit Karma who has made this happen within their organization in the last few years,” Venus Williams said, according to E! News. “I want to make sure that this gap has been closed.”
Venus Wants Woman To Demand Their Value
Williams also wants to encourage women to demand their value in a world conditioned to underserve their needs. The gender pay gap is a pervasive issue and she hopes organizations will rewire their thinking and policies.
“You have to ask for your value,” Williams said. “Organizations need to do a deep dive to find any discrepancies in pay and managers need to understand their own gender bias in decision making and be educated on these topics. It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight and that’s why I’m talking about this today.”
The Tennis Star Wants A Better Future For Her Niece
As Williams looks ahead, she hopes her four-year-old niece Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. will experience an equal and fair world so she can focus on becoming the best version of herself, free from the economic barriers of society.
“I hope that by the time she enters the workforce in whichever capacity, hopefully as a tennis player, she will not have to experience that inequity,” Williams said, according to E! News. “I don’t want it to be 200 or 300 years before that gap closes. I want it to happen within my lifetime. I want it to happen in time for my niece so she can focus on being her best person, instead of having to worry about her gender.”