Women Who Carry Their Baskets: Serena Williams
Everyone knows Serena Williams. She has been ranked the number one woman’s tennis player on eight separate occasions between 2002 and 2018. Ms. Williams holds 39 major titles and has been the most recent player to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once. She is only the third tennis player to achieve this distinction twice. In 2018, she was the winner of the Laureus Sport Woman of the Year. In 2016 and 2017 she was the highest paid female athlete in the world. In 2015, she was Sports Illustrated’s Person of the Year. This list goes on and on.
However, the reason Serena makes my list of women who carry their basket is because in 2017 she became pregnant with her first child. She played through her early pregnancy to win the Australian Open, and then withdrew for the season. She had a easy pregnancy but difficult delivery; so difficult in fact that she almost died. She also suffered from post partum depression. She shared her story with people everywhere, helping to diminish the the stigma associated with pregnancy and depression.
Ms. Williams returned to the game of professional tennis in 2018. In so doing, she set an example for top female athletes everywhere regarding the ability to balance personal goals with professional success. Moreover, at her match in the U.S. Open, she (in my view) correctly called out the Chair Umpire for sexism. She refused to be counted out, chastised, scolded, and penalized without a fight. She stood up for women everywhere who every day face expectations and treatment that differs from men!