Friday, November 30, 2012
As late as 2005, women tennis players at such famous competitions as the French Open and Wimbledon were not paid the same as men players. Williams met with the officials of both tournaments to plead the case for women, but to no avail.
Then, on the eve of Wimbledon in 2006, she published an essay in The Times, a widely-read British newspaper, accusing the event of being on "the wrong side of history." The essay presented an impassioned and well-substantiated argument on all the straight-forward reasons why the practice of underpaying women tennis players should change. And it closed by saying, "I intend to keep doing everything I can until Billie Jean's original dream of equality is made real."
The British Prime Minister and Parliament quickly endorsed Williams' statement and in February of 2007, both tournaments announced that, thenceforth, women tennis players would be paid equally to men. Williams was cited as the single factor in making this historic decision a reality. And she promptly responded by winning at Wimbledon and thus becoming the first one to benefit from her hardest fought battle ever. In-your-face women know there's more to life than competition and more to life than money. There's respect.