Serena Williams is the third exceptional woman to be featured on our International Women’s Day countdown. As this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange, we wanted to highlight a few of our favourite women who were not only bold for change, but achieved it.
Serena Williams needs no introduction. We are obsessed with women who excel in their fields (and that would be an understatement for Williams) – as well as quietly (or not so quietly!) working on side-projects to make the world a better place. And Williams is a legend both on and off the court. Her contribution to philanthropic causes is basically on par with her tennis achievements – but not so widely talked about. So, you ready?
As well as her work with the Serena Williams Foundation, the Serena Williams Fund, and the Williams Sisters Fund, she also supports the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Great Ormond Street Hospital, and the Equal Justice Initiative – and this is by no means an exhaustive list. She works tirelessly to fund and support many different causes: to name but a few (or rather, a few more), she provides university scholarships for underprivileged students in the USA, works to help at-risk youth in various schools and communities, is an International Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and helped to launch UNICEF´s Schools for Asia campaign. And that’s still not all!
It might seem like an intimidating list of achievements (and we’ve not even mentioned one sporting title) – but it just goes to show where hard work, passion and compassion can get you. Williams is one of the most self-aware celebrities out there, and we can only praise her for using her platform to effect such significant change.
In 2016 as part of Porter Magazine’s Incredible Women of 2016 issue, she wrote an open letter “to all incredible women who strive for excellence”, and touched on issues such as the gender pay gap, and how she feels about constantly being named one of the “world’s greatest female athletes”. On the latter point, she reminds us to “never let this go unchallenged. We should always be judged by our achievements, not by our gender.”
In the politically-charged artwork that was Lemonade, Beyonce and her director invited Williams to appear in Sorry. Williams’ all-round achievements can be summarised in the words of the director’s invitation: “We would love for you to be in this particular song. It’s about strength and courage and that’s what we see you as.”