Serena Williams believes black women have the power to close the gender pay gap by speaking up. In Fortune, the tennis star discussed the findings of her research partnership with SurveyMonkey about Americans’ perceptions of the pay gap.
In 2017, women in the United States are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, which is approximately a loss of $10,470, according to National Partnership Organization. For black women, as Williams’ data suggests, the gap is larger. Black women only earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
According to Williams, of those surveyed, the majority of black women know a pay gap exists and that racial factors contribute to the disparity. By contrast, of the white men surveyed, less than half (44 percent) reported knowing that a gender pay gap exists in the workplace.
“The cycles of poverty, discrimination, and sexism are much, much harder to break than the record for Grand Slam titles,” Williams wrote. “I was lucky enough to break through. But today isn’t about me. It’s about the other 24 million black women in America.”
Williams argued that black women need to be more vocal about the inequalities they experience in the workplace, since they are presumably more aware of it than their peers.
“Black women: Be fearless. Speak out for equal pay. Every time you do, you’re making it a little easier for a woman behind you,” Williams wrote. “Most of all, know that you’re worth it. It can take a long time to realize that. It took me a long time to realize it.”