Serena Williams slammed pay inequity in a letter that encouraged women athletes to "continue to dream big" and challenge gender stereotypes.
"When the subject of equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts," Williams, 35, who holds 71 career tennis titles, said in a letter written for Porter magazine. "I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you."
Williams' letter was also published Tuesday on the website of the Women's Tennis Association.
"As we know, women have to break down many barriers on the road to success," she continued. "One of those barriers is the way we are constantly reminded we are not men, as if it is a flaw.
"People call me one of the 'world's greatest female athletes.'
"Do they say LeBron is one of the world's best male athletes? Is Tiger? Federer? Why not? They are certainly not female.
"We should never let this go unchallenged," Williams said. "We should always be judged by our achievements, not by our gender."
She also discussed the importance of women athletes having strong support systems.
"I was fortunate to have a family that supported my dream and encouraged me to follow it," the six-time Wimbledon champion said. "I learned not to be afraid.
"I learned how important it is to fight for a dream and, most importantly, to dream big. My fight began when I was three and I haven't taken a break since.
"But as we know, too often women are not supported enough or are discouraged from choosing their path," she added. "I hope together we can change that.
"For me, it was a question of resilience.
"What others marked as flaws or disadvantages about myself — my race, my gender — I embraced as fuel for my success," Williams wrote. "I never let anything or anyone define me or my potential.
"I controlled my future."
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