Serena Williams on International Women’s Day: "We Must Band Together to Fight for What’s Fair" by 30Seconds Mom
On International Women’s Day, Serena Williams discussed the status of women in the workplace, as well as the results of a survey she conducted about balancing personal and professional lives, in an op-ed for FORTUNE.
“Now that I have Olympia, she is my absolute priority – spending as much time as possible with her every day is so important to me,” said Williams. “But I’m still training to win Grand Slams and sometimes I have to make hard choices about how I spend my time … I’m honest about my struggles as a working mom because I want other women out there to know they are not alone. We have to show ourselves and our female counterparts compassion and reality.”
Here’s more of what Williams had to say:
- On the challenges of being a working mom: “I’ve cried over Olympia so many times that I’ve lost count. I cried when I stopped breastfeeding. I sat with Olympia in my arms, I talked to her, we prayed about it, and I told her, ‘Mommy has to do this.’ I cried when I missed Olympia’s first steps because I was in training. I’m honest about my struggles as a working mom because I want other women out there to know they are not alone.”
- On being penalized for taking maternity leave: “When I returned to tennis from maternity leave, I was penalized for taking time off: my ranking dropped from No. 1 in the world to No. 453. That required me to face tougher competition earlier in the French Open, which led to a pectoral injury that forced me to drop out. I fought hard personally, making it to the Wimbledon final shortly after, but I also fought hard publicly against the biased ranking system. We must stop penalizing women when they return to their careers after having children.”
- On the survey results: “For starters, our data show that women are four times more likely to say they provide more childcare than their male partner – pulling a double shift at work and home. This contributes to the fact that nearly half of women say they have sacrificed career goals for their family. I know I did … The surveys also revealed that there’s a 10 percentage point difference in the share of men vs. the share of women who say they are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ comfortable taking risks to advance their careers.”
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