It’s now 2020 and there are still many athletic associations and organizations that are stuck in different types of backward thinking. In a time where progressive stances are getting more firm throughout the world and the feminist movement is taking center stage, there’s absolutely no reason to remain resistant to change. Especially not when it aims to provide equality in the field of sports.
There are various types of inequalities experienced by women on and off the field. Lack of access, financial support, sexism, and even equal disparities – these are all valid concerns that many female athletes experience today. Thankfully, there are some female athletes who are not afraid to speak about their opinions on these injustices.
Want to know who these brave women are? Continue reading to find out. You’re sure to be inspired by their courageous acts.
Billie Jean King
One of the very first people to speak on the issue is Billie Jean King. A former top professional player, Miss King is considered as part of the greatest of the greats. Throughout her career, she successfully won 39 Grand Slam titles.
Following her successes on and off the court, King rallied for equal pay and prizes for both men’s and women’s tennis games. To further her fight, she co-founded numerous organizations such as World Team Tennis and Billie Jean King Leadership – both of which are geared towards female access to sports, inclusivity, and diversity.
Together with her team, the United States Women’s National Soccer team, Megan Rapinoe leads the fight against social injustices and inequality in sports. Known for her help in securing the second FIFA World Championship Cup in 2015 and 2019, Rapinoe continues to make noise and use her presence to demand what’s right.
In 2019, 28 players, including Rapinoe, filed a lawsuit against their respective employers following allegations of institutionalized gender discrimination. At the core of their demand is equal pay between both sexes. Apart from financial concerns, the athlete is also seeking the same training, playing, and travel conditions as her male counterparts.
As she was named FIFA Player of the Year in 2019, Rapinoe used her platform to speak about racism in sports. She also speaks openly about being gay and the struggles of the LGBTQ community in the sports world.
Venus Williams is not a new name in the field of tennis. Together with her sister Serena, she has made wins left and right. As a matter of fact, Venus secured the number one spot in Open Era, earning the title of the first African American woman to do so.
More than ten years ago, Venus rallied for equal pay in the Wimbledon, writing a letter to the governing body before winning the Wimbledon in 2005. In 2007, Venus won her fight with Wimbledon announcing its decision to provide equal pay for both sexes.
Another tennis great, Serena Williams is one to use her platform to challenge sexism in sports. With 73 singles titles under her belt, Serena knows no bounds and is not stopping anytime soon.
Apart from joining the advisory board of the Billie Jean King Leadership initiative with her sister Venus, Serena has been openly fighting and calling attention to the gender pay gap. In an essay published in 2017, Serena tackled issues that concerned pay and black women.
Wambach definitely isn’t afraid to speak her mind about social issues surrounding society. A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and a FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, Abby Wambach is one to be reckoned with.
While her achievements and successes in the field should be recognized, Abby points society to her pressing advocacy; equal pay. Having retired without much savings due to gender discrimination and disparity pay, the former athlete is now focusing her efforts on raising awareness on the existing gender pay gap and telling the media to highlight women’s successes as well. She has also joined campaigns such as ‘I’d Rather Get Paid’ for Secret Deodorant, which tackles the journey towards pay equality.
There is still a long way to go in terms of fighting for equality. With these five female athletes at the helm, changes in regulation and justice are now possible for just about any court or arena.