What most fans don't know is that behind the scenes the world's third-ranked player is just as powerful as she is on the court.
Williams has successfully pushed for equal prize money for women, helped formulate a better-calibrated tour schedule and was a key figure in a joint program between the WTA and UNESCO -- the cultural arm of the United Nations -- that promotes gender equality and leadership opportunities for women.
The idea for the UNESCO program emerged from her experience at an ESPY awards ceremony in which two Afghan women were honored for starting a soccer program in their war-torn homeland. The UNESCO-WTA program uses tennis as a vehicle to educate women around the world, making the sport a steppingstone to a better and fuller life.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Source: "There is more to Venus Williams than meets the eye," Helene Elliott, The Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2009.