12 Responses

  1. Nic
    Nic July 3, 2013 at 1:22 am |

    The head space is annoying.

  2. Mister
    Mister July 3, 2013 at 2:18 am |

    Nothing against Serena, but I like the fact that the documentary was true to the topic of the film and focused on VENUS and HER accomplishments. With Serena’s highly recognized career, it was never even mentioned that “little sister took over and became #1.”
    We had the opportunity to see the life and accomplishments of Venus Ebony Starr Williams.

    Great article above, Lindsay. I think the sport will continue to grow with your passion that you share to the world.

  3. Karunya
    Karunya July 3, 2013 at 2:28 am |

    Lindsay, this was amazing.I started following tennis shortly after ’07 Wimbledon and I was not aware of the huge fight for equal prize money until very recently. After reading your summary of this documentary and Venus’ open letter, I cannot help but wonder about the selective memory of the mainstream tennis media when referring to this incident. They never mention that women actually wanted both : equal prize money AND equal number of sets (best of 5).

    This just shows how irrational and circular the arguments for denying equal prize money to women were! “We cannot give you equal prize money because you don’t play equal number of sets. And you cannot play equal number of sets because we won’t let you.”

    Also, regarding the economics part of it, I didn’t know that they could already afford to pay 94 – 97% of the men’s prize money to the women. The more I read about it, the more I am convinced that Wimbledon held off on paying out equal wages out of spite than any “real” concern about the profit margin or whatever.

  4. Lucas
    Lucas July 3, 2013 at 10:17 am |

    Amazing text. I need to see this doc emergency right now!!
    Venus need to be a role model for the young future of women tennis. Because she was not be in the courts forever to defend the women, and they need ‘a leader’.

  5. Flash
    Flash July 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

    This whole equal pay debate is very much an emotional issue. I view it in economic terms.

    The simple fact is that there is more interest in the men’s game then the women’s. More people watch it on TV, and people would pay more to view it live. You mention this fact in your “bullshit arguments”, this is the basic principle of demand and supply. More people want to buy tickets to the mens matches; therefore the price will be higher.

    Imagine that the mens and womens championships were kept separate. The men played their Wimbledon in June while the women played theirs in July. Or vice versa if you prefer:

    The men’s Wimbledon would generate much more money. There’d be a larger audience in both TV and live terms. Therefore the mens TV deal would be bigger, and as a result the sponsorship would be bigger. Then there certainly wouldn’t be a call for equal prize money.

    Which other sports have equal prize money? Off the top of my head I can other think of athletics and swimming. But they have the similarity with tennis where the top events for men/female are held together.

    Should female football players get paid the same amount as male football players? Maybe they should too ride on the coattails of the men and hold their world cup at the same time and venue as the men then demand equal pay.

    1. Jewell
      Jewell July 4, 2013 at 1:07 am |

      Maybe you should have a look at tennis history? Tennis as a game has evolved as a joint enterprise in terms of gender since the beginnings as a modern sport. Suzanne Lenglen was a huge draw in 1926. Other sports do not have that same history.

      Another question for you. Back in the early 2000s, interest in the women’s game in some countries was higher than interest in the men’s. (One vignette from those years as an example: Serena being asked in a press conference why she thought the men’s tour was in the doldrums.) Do you think the women should have been paid more than the men in those days?

      FWIW, they were paid *less*. Hence the campaign from Venus and others.

      If you’re going to make the economic argument (which by the way I’m not entirely convinced of in global terms) then you have to realise that things go in cycles and be willing to adjust pay accordingly. Which of course would creates its own set of problems.

    2. Pamala Knight
      Pamala Knight July 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm |

      The fallacy in your argument is that the women aren’t asking for equal pay at separate events. It was for equal pay at GRAND SLAMS which are combined events. If you’re going to try and quantify things by making the men’s and women’s tour into products, then you’d have to do it all the way down the line. Would the average consumer or tennis fan know/recognize/enjoy/watch the number 25 men’s player as much as the number 25 women’s player? You have to make it an apples to apples argument and if you saw the documentary, then you also saw that the women concede the inequality at separate events.

      Thanks for the awesome recap, Lindsey. It was truly inspirational. I too, loved how it focused the narrative on Venus and this singular accomplishment, making a parallel to her career and experiences up to that time.

      1. Flash
        Flash July 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

        In case my point of view wasn’t clear, I apologise.

        Allow me to clarify. At Gland slams I do not believe that women should be paid as much as men, right now. Based on the fact that there is more interest in the mens game, and therefore the money generated from the men will exceed the “pot of money” created from the womens game.

        If in the past, or if in the future, there is more interest in the womens game than the mens game, then I would think that women should be paid more. After all there are areas of employment where women rightfully earn more than men.

        1. Dave
          Dave July 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

          The mens vs womens prize money debate is indeed a tough one. Really it should boil down to what they talked about in the documentary – how many people attend both tours, and what the TV ratings and sponsorship ratings are. It is tough to separate them at grand slams since they play at the same venue. But I agree that the mens and womens tour over the years has had ebbs and flows. Right now I’d say the mens tour has the edge by a long shot – mens tennis is as good as it’s ever been, the matches are so captivating. Though I’d say women’s tennis had the lead over mens tennis for much of the 1975 to 1994 timeframe, when most of the best players ever to play womens tennis were playing (Navratilova, Evert, Graf, Seles). Also seemed like mens tennis was in the dumps in the early 2000s after Sampras and before Federer. So it does indeed ebb and flow with the times. Seems fair to pair men and women the same prize money at grand slams and other events where the players are combined.

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  7. GoranVR
    GoranVR July 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm |

    Too bad I couldn’t see that documentary. Gonna search for it right now on YouTube.

    Thank you for this article. It’s really inspiring.

  8. Karen
    Karen July 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm |

    I loved the documentary and I made sure to watch it on ESPN2 later last night.

    I have always loved Venus. She brought me to tennis and I will never ever stop supporting her. Her fight for equality in all aspects is remarkable.

    One thing that I think got lost in the fight is the fact that there were players who abandoned the fight for equal pay because it affected their brand and earning power. It drove sponsors away from the Tour and a certain player’s sponsorships would have been affected. It is sad that at a time when everyone should have been on board, there were corporate entities who threatened to withdraw sponsorship because of the fight for equal pay.

    One makes you wonder whether Venus’ fight is what led to Reebok and her parting ways.

    Venus has always been a trailblazer and someone who has relied on her own talents to forge her way ahead. From staring her own interior design company while still a teenager to starting her own clothing line without the backing of Nike, Adidas or any of the large global brands speaks to her strength of character.

    I truly hope that when her memoir is eventually written, today’s players really pay homage to Venus because just like BJK she is truly what woman power is all about.

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