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FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2017, file photo, Serena Williams holds up a finger and her trophy after defeating her sister, Venus, in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia. A spokeswoman for Williams says the tennis star is pregnant. Kelly Bush Novak wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday, April 19, 2017: "I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this Fall." Earlier in the day, Williams posted a photo of herself on the social media site Snapchat with the caption "20 weeks." (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

Serena Williams said the gender pay gap 'hits women of color hardest'



Tennis star Serena Williams honored Black Women's Equal Pay on July 31 day by writing a personal essay for Fortune Magazine on Black women's tribulations with gender pay gap.

Williams, who was recently was named the world's highest-paid female athlete by Forbes, wrote, "For every black woman that rises through the ranks to a position of power, there are too many others who are still struggling."

"The cycles of poverty, discrimination, and sexism are much, much harder to break than the record for Grand Slam titles," Williams said. "Women of color have to work on average eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year."

Williams tweeted a picture of her wearing a "phenomenal woman" t-shirt on Monday to celebrate Black Women's Equal Pay Day.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who recently gave birth to her first child, wrote that in every stage of her life, she had to learn to speak up for herself.

"In every stage of my life, I've had to learn to stand up for myself and speak out," she wrote. "I have been treated unfairly, I've been disrespected by my male colleagues and — in the most painful times — I've been the subject of racist remarks on and off the tennis court."

Recently, former tennis star Ilie Nastase was banned from any official role in the sport by the International Tennis Federation until 2021 for making racially insensitive comments in April about the complexion of Williams' then-unborn child.

Williams addressed his controversial comments on Instagram, writing, "It disappoints me to know that we live in a society where people like llie Nastase can make such racist comments."

Last month, seven-time Grand Slam winner John McEnroe came under fire after he said that Williams would be "like 700" in the men's world rankings.

Williams quickly responded to his comments on Twitter saying "I've never played anyone ranked 'there' nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby."

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