Serena Williams, an Inspiration to Women Over 40 Reentering the Workforce

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Serena Williams is a tennis legend who has achieved more in her lifetime than any other person. But now, she’s focusing on other ventures and growing her family. She recently announced that she’s “evolving away”From tennis.

Since the nineties, Millennial women and Gen X have admired Serena (and her sister Venus) as tennis superstars. We were awestruck by their technical skills and their drive. We watched Serena blossom into an international star, winning 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, and four Olympic gold medals—not to mention being a style icon and having a baby.

It was all while she faced racism, discrimination and sexism in both her sport and the media. As she enters her 40s, she may be shifting her focus, but that doesn’t mean she’s any less determined.

She’s Not Retiring, She’s Evolving

Williams could technically. “retire”She plans to spend the rest of her time volunteering or relaxing. But she’s got too much ambition for that. Plus, she’s only forty years old.

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Serena Ventures is her venture capital firm. They invest in companies and support underrepresented founders as she ends her tennis career. Seventy-eight percent of the companies she’s invested in were started by women or people of color.

“I wrote one of the very first checks for MasterClass,”She says in her essay Vogue. It’s one of 16 unicorns—companies valued at more than $1 billion—that Serena Ventures has funded, along with Tonal, Impossible Foods, Noom, and Esusu, to name a few.”

Williams isn’t “retiring”at all. She’s just changing careers, like so many women do as they navigate midlife.

A pandemic has caused millions of women to leave the workforce in order to care for children.

Williams also wrote in Vogue about being mother to a 4-year-old girl, and how her career has evolved. “hands-on”Approach to raising her daughter and her desire have another child.

Williams describes the pulmonary embolism that she experienced during childbirth and postpartum depression. Williams also discusses her breastfeeding, which she continued to compete in. “But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter,”She writes.

Millions of other women feel the pressure to work as if we don’t have children and mother as if we don’t work. But that mindset isn’t sustainable. All of this is combined with a global pandemic and mothers feel the pressure even more. Many mothers quit their jobs during the coronavirus epidemic, when virtual learning was the norm.

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It is difficult to find exact numbers, but the United States Census Bureau reported that 10 million mothers of school-aged children weren’t working in January 2021. These numbers will be even higher if you include mothers with toddlers or infants.

Williams, like other women athletes has spoken out about the difficulties of trying to be a mother while working. She also acknowledged that she has the support and resources that others don’t have.

“I don’t know how moms do it,”In an interview, she said this: Today. “I work a lot, and I can’t imagine working a full day like most working women and then [going] back to their babies. I’m fortunate enough that I have days off, and I get to make my schedule and then can spend the rest of the day with her. And that’s still hard.”

Even pre-pandemic women in midlife struggle to rejoin the workforce after having children 

Working moms’ struggles aren’t new. It’s always been challenging to rejoin the workforce after children become school-aged, even pre-pandemic. Companies that prefer single, childless candidates or large gaps in your resume have unfairly put midlife job applicants in a disadvantage. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to get back into the same field or starting a new career—it’s always been rough.

Williams is an example to follow. She started her business when she saw a demand. While it’s not for everyone, many mothers have found that entrepreneurial efforts fit their needs and schedules. Williams and Alexis Ohanian, her husband, have both been vocal in advocating for parental leave and sharing parenting responsibilities.

The pandemic shined a light on many social and labor issues, and Williams’ response to those obstacles is an inspiring one. By using her platform to further emphasize the challenges working mothers face regularly, she’s hopefully leading us one step closer to solutions.

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