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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977
Page 18
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977 - Page 18. May 1977. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 6, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4096/show/4092.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(May 1977). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977 - Page 18. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4096/show/4092

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977 - Page 18, May 1977, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 6, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4096/show/4092.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 1977
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1977
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Item Description
Title Page 18
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File Name femin_201109_528r.jpg
Transcript EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL PLAY By Susan A. McManus Probably one of the most important controversies affecting women's tennis of late has been the push for equal pay at Wimbledon. While all the top women players signed the petition for greater pay, their reasons for doing so were as varied as their professional experience and national origins. At the recent WTT Mixed Doubles Classic, sponsored by Vi- talis and Clairol, April 22-24 at the Woodlands Inn and Country Club, international women tennis stars discussed this and other aspects of a professional career. Billie Jean King, often cited as the individual most responsible for the petition, stated rather surprisingly: "I didn't feel that the women deserved equal prize money last year. Everyone thinks that I was the leader behind it which is not the way it was. I feel that until we have a 128-draw and until women's tennis can get a little heavier at the bottom end and thereby increase its entertainment value, that we should not get equal pay." But, she added, "This is only five years away." King restated the case: "The real issue at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open is that the women's association and the men's association should be working together. We should be getting 40% of the gross like other athletes do in other sports and right now at Wimbledon, we get 10%.A// the players, men and women, are getting a raw deal. Until the men and women want to communicate, get together as entertainers and professional athletes, Wimbledon can continue to keep us down around 10%. I just hope and pray that in the near future, men and women will start working together." Rosie Casals attacked the oft- stated "fact" that the quality of men's tennis is superior to that of women's: "As far as this particular tournament (WTT Mixed Doubles at Woodlands), the women have helped the team a lot more than the men. It is a fact that there are more men tennis players and they have more depth. The men have always had more opportunities available to them than the women. But," she predicted, "we are only about five years behind. We started with barely eight women here in Houston seven years ago and now we're carrying about 400 on our tour." Olga Morozova, from the Soviet Union, endorsed the move for equal pay. "I'm proud of the women for doing it," she said. "We are professional tennis players. We play tennis all year long. It is our job. If we devote all this time to playing tennis, and we play well, and the public likes women's tennis, why should we get less than the men?" Francoise Durr, who grew up in Algeria, agreed with Morozova on the fairness of the move for equal pay based on the entertainment value. "If women draw the same amount of people, or if there is the same amount of interest in women's tennis as in men's, then women should get equal pay. Since Wimbledon is the main championship of the world and draws equally large numbers of men and women spectators, I think women should get equal pay." Durr, a member of the pro tour for 13 years, has observed dramatic changes in women's sports. "It's more acceptable now to be a female professional athlete. Plus, if you're in a sport like tennis or golf, you can make a good living at it." Durr has not done badly herself in making a living. In additon to being one of the top prize money winners (and the winner, with Fred McMillan, of the Woodlands tournament), she has her own tennis equipment company with the logo, fgo. She laughingly said, "With a stroke like mine, you need an ego." Several of the stars were pessimistic that the Europeans would not understand such a move for equal pay. Betty Stove, of the Netherlands, and the current president of the Women's Tennis Association, stated: "The push for equal money can be done much easier in America than in Europe." Wendy Turnbull, a pro trom Australia,on the circuit since 1972, also questioned the readiness of Europe for such a move. "England is still so far behind the times. I think we are pushing for it too early because they are not ready for it. it sort of made the female players look bad as far as the English public goes. They still don't think that women are very good athletes. They still think that men play more interesting tennis than women." While Stove was somewhat pessimistic about European acceptance of moves for equal or increased pay, she was quite optimistic about the future of women's tennis. "Ten years ago, especially in the U.S., college women played tennis but they did not have any professional goals. Professionalism has now become part of the game. Girls are aiming to be professional athletes at a much younger age. They start training much younger and consequently are much better athletes." "My hope for the next few years b to 1*£v play the best tennis that I've ever played in my life and to ^L show people that motivation is much more important than age. I want to prove to people that once you're over 30, you can be a great athlete." — Billie Jean King The career of one of the younger stars on the tour, Ann Kiyomura of the U.S., reflects the impact of such opportunities. When asked why she decided to go pro, she said: "I was lucky because just as I was coming out of high school, the Virginia Slims circuit was nearly stabilised. I thought since I'd done well as a junior player that I'd give pro tennis a try." When asked who were the individuals most responsible for the changes in women's tennis, the players consistently mentioned Gladys Heldman, Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals and the entire Virginia Slims circuit. South African £ Greer Stevens, one of the young- > est players on the circuit at 20, said "As a young girl, I saw Billie Jean King play and told my mother that I wanted to play like her. I have both Gladys Heldman and Billie Jean to thank for my career today." So what does Billie Jean King, billed in the tournament as the greatest female athlete in history and the person most responsible for the start of tennis boom in America, now attempting a comeback after a serious knee operation, see for her future and the future of women's tennis? "I am tired of the politics of tennis," she began. "My hope for the next few years is to play the best tennis that I've ever played in my life and to show people that motivation is much more important than age. At 33, I don't feel that I've started to live in many ways. I want to prove to people that once you're over 30, you can be a great athlete!" One of her new goals is that of physical fitness. "I have made a commitment to myself that I will stay physically fit for the rest of my life, and will always watch my ) diet." She feels that sports medicine is an area which has been seriously neglected in female ath- ' letic training but one which definitely needs to be stressed. "Nobody ever helped me. When I was 160 pounds, nobody ever told me I was too fat. They just said, 'Oh, you'll run it off tomorrow. Eat another sandwich, dear.'" To a young woman contemplating a professional athletic career, Billie Jean would emphasize the importance of setting personal goals and not becoming discouraged. "Whatever a young woman wants to do, she should dream about doing. She should not feel that everyone is against her. I think a lot of women, especially feminists, think the world owes them something. You have to be realistic and work within the system. If you want to change it, the ony way you can change it is by being pragmatic and doing your job well. If a guy's a male chauvinist pig, accept him for that, deal with it, understand it, don't automatically get turned off by that person. We are all what we are; we are still products of our environment." Thanks to the Billie Jean Kings, young women can now realistically consider a career in professional tennis. There is now a solid future where before there was only a faint glimmer of hope. HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH • MAY 1977 • PAGE 17