Venus Williams was honored alongside the likes of Drew Barrymore and Camila Cabello
Venus Williams was honored at Variety magazine’s ‘Power of Women’ event on Thursday for her trailblazing achievements both on and off the court. The seven-time Grand Slam champion gave a gripping speech in absentia, highlighting how the presence of strong women in her life shaped her as a person and athlete.
In her video message, Venus Williams took the opportunity to talk about the Yetunde Price Resource Center, which was established by her family in memory of her older sister, Yetunde Price. Price was the victim of a shooting in Compton, California, and passed away in September 2003.
Dedicating the honor to the center during the evening, Williams elaborated on how it embodies Price’s spirit by working for the health and mental wellness of those in her hometown of Compton.
“My sisters embody what it means to be a powerful woman, but particularly my older sister Yetunde,” Williams said. “She was resilient and cared deeply for so many. She centered her life in the community around her. We’re so proud of her, and it’s because of that that our family started the Yetunde Price Resource Center in her memory. It is the charity I have chosen to recognize at this event.””The centre takes a holistic approach to health and wellness services, offering programs that help the mental and financial needs of individuals within the Compton community,” she added.
The former World No. 1 proceeded to emphasize the importance of celebrating women through events such as this. She pointed out how a woman’s ascendency to similar opportunities and recognition often requires more effort than her male counterparts. The American, who was instrumental in the introduction of equal pay in tennis, believes it is more crucial than ever for women to empower one another.
“The cards are often stacked against us,” Williams said. “We are paid less than men, we have to work harder to earn more respect and we are plagued by antiquated stereotypes about what it means to be a woman. Regardless of age, race, income, religion, all women have had moments in their lives where they had to work harder to earn the same recognition or respect that men do. It’s because of these shared experiences of inequity that it is more important than ever to uplift and celebrate each other. One woman’s success is every woman’s success.”
“I was very fortunate to grow up surrounded by several powerful women”- Venus Williams
Venus Williams further explained how there was no dearth of female role models growing up amidst five sisters. She spoke of her mother’s unyielding character, revealing how she encouraged her daughters to embrace their individualities and to not compromise on their values.
“I was very fortunate to grow up surrounded by several powerful women,” she said. “I was one of five sisters and my mom is the strongest person I know. Alongside my father, she encouraged us to celebrate our individuality and gave us our beliefs and values. She never let us succumb to someone else’s opinion to keep us from what we believe what’s doing right.”
Williams believes treading along the righteous path even with little company is something that was instilled into her from childhood itself.
“Having the confidence to do the right thing, even when it’s not the most popular, is a quality that I learned from a young age from being around such strong female presences,” the 41-year-old added.
Venus Williams has been out of action since August last year, where she lost in the first round of the Chicago Women’s Open to Hsieh Su-Wei. While Williams has announced that she will make a return to the WTA tour, she has not announced a return date yet.