In 1973, the US Open became the first of the Grand Slams to offer women equal prize money with their male counterparts, the only one of the four majors to do so in the 20th century.
Continuing its commitment to gender equality, the US Open has now asked some of the biggest names in women's tennis to come together in support of “SheIS,” a new initiative which aims to increase awareness of women in sports, defined by a daring mission statement: “She Is. We Are. Embrace All.”
The USTA is banding together with women’s sports leagues, including the WNBA, National Pro Fastpitch and Canadian Women's Hockey, to harness the power of women’s sport to create a future of, by, and for strong women. The USTA "Embrace All" campaign is defined by the statement: "The only thing that separates us from each other is the net."
“We are extremely excited to partner with the USTA as we embrace all in the growth of women’s sports," said Brenda Andress, founder of SheIS and commissioner of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL). "Growth opportunities within sports for girls and women everywhere lie within ourselves. Our amazing group of leagues, organizations, athletes and business leaders that are part of the SheIS collective are demonstrating firsthand how much we can accomplish when we stand together.”
Throughout the two weeks of the US Open, a slew of stars will stand united as one voice on the importance of female athletes supporting each other. A social media-centric campaign will see a total of six videos released across the US Open channels, featuring current and former tennis stars, including Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens, Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova, Garbiñe Muguruza, Jelena Ostapenko, Madison Keys, CoCo Vandeweghe, Caroline Wozniacki, Karolina Pliskova, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Lindsay Davenport, Mary Carillo and Tracy Austin.
Andy Murray will also join the conversation on sports equality, representing fathers with daughters.
“Billie Jean King's courage and the empowering voices of Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova have created a pathway to inspire many US Open players to achieve their dreams on and off the court,” said Stacey Allaster, USTA Chief Executive of Professional Tennis. “I’m pleased that the USTA, alongside SheIS, is leading the conversation on the importance of women in sports, supporting each other in a collaborative and meaningful way.”
The joint campaign seeks to demonstrate that we all deserve to experience the incredible and lifelong benefits of playing sports. SheIS x USTA represents a progressive step in showing the sports world and its fans that women’s sports are worth watching and supporting.
"When we stand together – across different sports, male and female, at all levels – we have the ability to instill change and make sports a more aspirational and viable career for women. Little girls need to see role models that look like them, regardless of whether or not they become elite athletes," added Caiti Donovan, Executive Director of SheIS.
"Hashtags like the #FutureIsFemale, #WomenInBusiness and #GirlBoss have been defining a cultural conversation in 2018," said Qianna Smith-Bruneteau, Director of Social Media and Strategy at the USTA. "These short but empowering tags have a combined Instagram usage of over 30 million posts and served as creative inspiration for the campaign."
Be part of the dialogue using hashtag #SheISUSTAEmbraceAll and tagging @usta, @usopen & @teamsheis.