How Serena Williams rewrote the playbook for female athletes juggling motherhood and sport
Last year, ESPN’s Kelly Breen interviewed Serena Williams about her new role as a gender adviser to Nike. Williams has taken up the sportswear company’s sponsorship, alongside other high-profile athletes.
“I’ve been working out there for a month. I’m getting out there a little bit every day and trying to get in there. You know, I’m just trying to, like, just have fun.”
Breen asked Williams for advice on how she might take advantage of her new position to promote gender diversity in sports. Williams suggested that she might “just try to go out and talk to people and tell them what I see in the sport, because I know it’s one thing to just see it and you’re like, ‘Oh, what’s wrong with that?’ But what about when you see that and then you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t want to say anything. This is like being a mother, you’ve got to step up’.”
For a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion with a long list of Olympic, and international, triumphs, it seems a daunting task. But in a year when Williams’s mother made it clear she wanted her son to have more female role models, the American athlete has used her newfound fame to push the frontiers of gender in sports.
Now, more than six years after she first emerged as a trailblazer in the U.S. and around the world, Williams, 39, has gone from one of the most celebrated women tennis players in history to a trailblazer in the world of sports. In the past year, she has become a champion of gender diversity.
On May 4, Williams and her mother, Margaret, hosted an event on