Serena Williams calls for equal pay on #BlackWomensEqualPayDay

“I don’t deserve to be paid less because of my sex”- Serena Williams reignites tennis equal pay debate (F)

Tennis star, Serena Williams has called for equal pay in a powerful essay to coincide with Black Women’s Equal Pay Day in the US.

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day marks the point in the year where black women are finally paid the equivalent of what their white male counterparts earned last year.

Although a gender pay gap exists throughout all races, according to statistics it hits black and Hispanic women the hardest.

Black women earn 67 cents to the dollar less than their white male counterparts, while Hispanic women are paid 46 per cent less.

Research from SurveyMonkey, shows that these black women are aware of the pay gap, with 69 per cent perceiving a pay gap, but just 44 per cent of white men recognise the issue.

In her letter, entitled ‘How Black Women Can Close the Pay Gap’, Williams wrote about empowering and encouraging women to get the pay that they deserve.

Williams wrote, “I’d like to acknowledge the many realities black women face every day.”

“To recognise that women of colour have to work – on average – eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year.”

“To bring attention to the fact that black women earn 17 per cent less than their white female counterparts and that black women are paid 63 per cent of the dollar men are paid.”

“Even black women who have earned graduate degrees get paid less at every level.”

“This is as true in inner cities as it is in Silicon Valley.”

“Together, we will change the story – but we are going to have to fight for every penny.”

Continuing, Williams spoke about her experiences growing up. She wrote, “I was told I couldn’t accomplish my dreams because I was a woman and, more so, because of the colour of my skin.”

“In every stage of my life, I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself and speak out.”

“I have been treated unfairly, I’ve been disrespected by my male colleagues and – in the most painful times – I’ve been the subject of racist remarks on and off the tennis court.”

Williams has been open about the racism and sexism she has faced and has long been an advocate for equal pay.

In July 2016, she made headlines again for demanding equal pay throughout tennis. She said at the time, “I don’t deserve to be paid less because of my sex.”

In April this year, she was the target of racist abuse from former world No. 1 professional tennis player and Romanian captain, Ilie Nastase. After Williams announced her pregnancy, Nastase is reported to have said, “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”

Concluding her essay, Williams said, “Black women: be fearless.”

“Speak out for equal pay.”

“Every time you do, you’re making it a little easier for a woman behind you.”

“Most of all, know that you’re worth it.”

“It can take a long time to realise that.”

“It took me a long time to realise it.”

“But we are all worth it.”

“I’ve long said, “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.”

“Let’s get back those 37 cents.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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