Serena Williams is addressing all “incredible women who strive for excellence” in a moving letter first published by Porter Magazine.
Written for the publication’s Incredible Women of 2016 issue, the tennis star’s essay takes aim at sexism in sport and urges all women to reach for their dreams.
“When I was growing up, I had a dream. I’m sure you did, too,” Williams begins. “My dream wasn’t like that of an average kid, my dream was to be the best tennis player in the world. Not the best ‘female’ tennis player in the world.”
The 35-year-old goes on to address the gender pay gap, and the sexism she’s had to face as a female athlete.
“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,” she continues. “I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you.”
Williams adds: “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. We should always be judged by our achievements, not by our gender.”
The Guardian has since republished the powerful piece to their site, where it has received more than 7,000 shares.
“We must continue to dream big, and in doing so, we empower the next generation of women to be just as bold in their pursuits,” the multi-Grand Slam winner concludes.