Venus Williams Is Working to Close the Gender Pay Gap

Venus Williams Is Working to Close the Gender Pay Gap

Venus Williams is all too aware of the oft-cited fact that women make less than men. The tennis superstar had her first "rude awakening" in 1998 at just 16 years old when she won her first Grand Slam and received a markedly different prize sum than her male counterpart. “I don’t want any other young women to have to face that,” she said. Though she’s been playing professionally since a kid, it took her until 2006 to make the same prize money as Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

Just one example of countless, the gender pay gap that's been going on for far too long is now the subject of Williams' new initiative called "Privilege Tax."

In a new interview with CBS Mornings, Williams explained her Privilege Tax initiative will give people the option to donate $1 when they buy something from practicing companies, like her own fashion label EleVen. Proceeds from the purchase will then go into funding the nonprofit Girls Inc. that focuses on creating new opportunities for women everywhere.

“Women are earning 82 cents to the dollar that men are earning,” she said. “If you’re a minority, [or] living out of the country, it gets even worse.”

The gender pay gap is bad enough, but when you bring in being a woman of color, the conversation gets even more troubling. “That gap widens when you’re a Black woman, a woman of minority,” she said. “I’m just very happy that as an African American woman I can speak to this and make this known.”

“It’s a very important role that I never thought I’d play,” she continued. “I just wanted to win Wimbledeon! I got there, it wasn’t equal, and it’s just led me to this place where I'm able to do more than I ever thought I could do."

Photo via Getty/ Shaun Botterill