Billie Jean King (1943-present) - tennis champion | social activist

Lynn Gilbert, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons



Billie Jean King is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. A former world No. 1 player, she won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. A tireless advocate for gender equality in sports, she founded the Women's Tennis Association and the Women's Sports Foundation. She was one of two Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1972 and a 1975 Time Person of the Year. In 1973, King won the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against Bobby Riggs. King has been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. President Barack Obama awarded King the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work advocating for the rights of women and the LGBT community.


"The most important words that have helped me in life, when things have gone right or when things have gone wrong are 'accept responsibility.'” 

“I have often been asked whether I am a women or an athlete. The question is absurd. Men are not asked that. I am an athlete. I am a woman.” 

“When they take surveys of women in business, of the Fortune 500, the successful women, 80% of them, say they were in sports as a young woman.” 


King, Billie Jean (2022). All In: The Autobiography of Billie Jean King. 

Ware, S. (2015). Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports.

Rockliff, M. and Baddeley, E. (2019) Billie Jean!: How Tennis Star Billie Jean King Changed Women's Sports. (biography for kids) 





Lori Buntin - Billie Jean King

When I was a kid, growing up in the 70s and 80s, playing sports was my ""in"" to having any kind of social life.  I grew up in a rural town of 500 and, needless to say, there was not much going on. Little did I know that at the time, there was a whole Women's Movement going on.  When I reached high school, I became aware of Title IX and could see some of the benefits from its mandate even in my tiny corner of the world. It wasn't until much later that I learned about the role Billie Jean King played in helping push Title IX forward.  

As a very public figure, in the male-dominated world of professional sports, Billie Jean King used her platform to fight for women's equality.  To this day, she is an outspoken advocate for equality, LGBTQ rights, and diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

She inspires me. 

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Women Who Walked on Water

Joy Zimmerman

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Women Who Walked on Water (3:21) – mid-tempo with soulful vocals, rhythmic guitars, and lilting fiddle. A song of tribute to seventeen courageous women who changed the world.

Music & Lyrics by Joy Zimmerman

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