1971 Joint Resolution of Congress
With its roots in the fight for women’s voting rights, Women’s Equality Day celebrates the progress made in women’s rights and calls on men and women alike to continue the work towards complete equality.
In the arena of sports, much of the gender equality progress can be attributed to the work of Billie Jean King. Her impact on the sport of tennis was monumental — from founding the WTA to advocating for equal prize money.
Never satisfied with the status quo, King used her star power and advocated on behalf of Title IX in front of Congress. The landmark legislation sought to bring equal opportunity and treatment to men and women in sport.
Now 101 years after the certification of the 19th amendment and 49 years after the enactment of Title IX, women in college tennis continue to break records and leave a legacy of excellence. In the past year, many current and former collegiate players achieved notable accomplishments — here are just a few:
- Jennifer Brady became the first former collegiate woman to reach the semifinals of the US Open since Oklahoma State’s Lori McNeil in 1987.
- During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, former Pepperdine women’s tennis player Luisa Stefani won the first tennis Olympic medal – regardless of gender – in Brazil’s history. She partnered with Laura Pigossi to defeat Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina for the bronze.
- Barbie honored the contributions Billie Jean King made to sport and society by adding a doll made in her likeness to their “Inspiring Women” series. The doll is the first time that a professional athlete will be honored in the series.
- Natalia Pluskota capped off her year in the ITA USTA Mentorship Program with a promotion to head coach of the Gonzaga Women’s tennis team. Pluskota earned the first promotion within the inaugural class. Out of the 13 mentees, nine are women. With the program heading into its second year, eight more women are working with veteran coaches to advance their careers.
- Likewise, after completing their year of service with the JTCC, Ava Todd and Gabby Hesse accepted full-time jobs in College Park. The pair are the first Tennis For America fellows to gain full-time employment from their Tennis For America host site.
- In recognition of her efforts to lift up the underrepresented and excluded, Victoria Flores was awarded the ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award. Flores is the first female recipient of the award, one of the most prestigious honors given by the Association.
- UCLA standout Abbey Forbes founded the Black Tennis Student-Athlete Association to provide a space for Black collegiate tennis players to support one another and promote the sport to the younger generation.
- With a run to the NCAA singles final, Miami senior Estela Perez-Somarriba ended her collegiate career tied for the most all-time NCAA tournament wins with 17 victories. She also joins Baylor’s Zemenova as the only player with four Sweet 16s, three Final Fours, two finals berths and a national title.
Ways to Celebrate Women’s Equality Day
- Register to Vote
- Recognize a girl/woman
- Listen to women
- Attend a women’s sporting event
- Read a Book
- Donate to a cause