Stephen Curry is standing up for gender equality.
The NBA star shares his personal thoughts and feelings on the topic in a powerful essay penned for The Players’ Tribune.
The athlete’s article, titled “This Is Personal,” opens up with a lighthearted story about his daughter Riley‘s future career aspirations. Combining the roles of her point guard dad and celebrity chef mom, the 6-year-old youngster dreams of being “a basketball player cook.”
While Curry recognizes the phase could be fleeting and that there would be some logistical details to work out, he applauds his firstborn’s skills in both domains and encourages her and her 3-year-old sister Ryan to follow their dreams.
“I want our girls to grow up knowing that there are no boundaries that can be placed on their futures, period,” he writes. “I want them to grow up in a world where their gender does not feel like a rulebook for what they should think, or be, or do. And I want them to grow up believing that they can dream big, and strive for careers where they’ll be treated fairly. And of course: paid equally.”
As the article continues, he explains how people need to come together to make complete gender equality possible.
“Not just as ‘fathers of daughters,’ or for those sorts of reasons. And not just on Women’s Equality Day. Every day—that’s when we need to be working to close the pay gap in this country,” he writes. “Because every day is when the pay gap is affecting women. And every day is when the pay gap is sending the wrong message to women about who they are, and how they’re valued, and what they can or cannot become.”
Curry then opens up about how he’s trying to do his part, such as by hosting a basketball camp for girls. The Golden State Warriors player describes the experience as “incredible” and explains how it included a question and answer session with several successful women in the sports and business fields. He recalls how one of the attendees asked panelist Ariel Johnson Lin, a VP at JPMorgan Chase & Co., about how she voices her ideas when she’s the only woman in a meeting. Curry sums up Lin’s response as follows: “Be yourself. Be good, and try to be great—but always be yourself.”
While Curry describes the moment as “satisfying,” he writes he’s personally “not even close to satisfied” and is “more driven than ever” to help women working towards progress.
“Let’s work to close the opportunity gap. Let’s work to close the pay gap. And let’s work together on this,” he writes. “I mean, ‘women deserve equality’—that’s not politics, right? That’s not something that people are actually disagreeing on, is it? It can’t be.”
At one point in the essay, Curry opens up about how he’s been surrounded by “incredible and fiercely principled” women, including his mother and his wife, his whole life, and how he’s always believed in listening to and believing in women.
However, he claims the arrival of his third child, Cannon, has made him contemplate a new notion—what it means to raise a son. While he admits “it’s a lot to think about,” he turns back to the words of wisdom shared by Lin.
“I think you teach him to always stay listening to women, to always stay believing in women, and—when it comes to anyone’s expectations for women—to always stay challenging the idea of what’s right,” he writes. “And I think you let him know that, for his generation, to be a true supporter of women’s equality—it’s not enough anymore to be learning about it. You have to be doing it.”
To read Curry’s full essay, check out The Players’ Tribune.