Courtesy of the Tory Burch Foundation.
Just in time for the U.S. Open, which kicks off August 28, and Women’s Equality Day on August 26, entrepreneur and tennis buff Tory Burch is releasing a limited-edition T-shirt to commemorate Billie Jean King’s 1973 victory over Bobby Riggs in the infamous “Battle of the Sexes” match—the subject of the forthcoming movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell.
The $48 shirt, available today on Toryburch.com and via Burch’s Tory Sport athleisure stores, is emblazoned with the words “She Won We Won” on the front, and “Battle of the Sexes 9/20/1973” on the back. Half the proceeds will benefit the Tory Burch Foundation, which aims to empower women founders, and half the proceeds will go to the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, a program founded by King herself to increased diversity at companies and other organizations.
King has been a longtime advocate for equal pay for women. Before she defeated Riggs in 1973 (final score: 6-4, 6-3, 6-3) she formed the Women’s Tennis Association, and that same year cajoled the U.S. Open to become the first Grand Slam tournament to bestow equal prize money on men and women. Since 2007, all four tennis “majors”— the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon—offer equal pay. Other sports, however, have lagged. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team has been embroiled in legal battles with the United States Soccer Federation over wages. And overall, women in America are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families.
Burch says the King-Riggs match continues to inspire people to fight for fairness on the playing field and in the workplace. “I love that it is resonating with a new generation of women—and men—who recognize the importance of equal rights and equal pay,” she tells Vanity Fair. “We need to build on the momentum to ensure that women achieve true parity in the workplace and beyond.”
One positive sign: Emma Stone, who plays King in the film Battle of the Sexes, recently topped Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-paid actresses of the previous year; the magazine has yet to release its top-paid actors list, but Stone’s reported earnings put her on par with or ahead of nearly everyone in her field, male or female.
Burch’s “She Won” shirt isn’t the first time the designer-entrepreneur has produced clothing for a cause. Earlier this year, on International Women’s Day, she unveiled shirts and accessories tied to her #EmbraceAmbition initiative, which also featured a star-studded ad campaign—celebrity founders Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others, make appearances—aimed at getting women to embrace their inner go-getter. “When women are ambitious it’s [seen as] a bit off-putting, and when men are ambitious its celebrated,” Burch told Graydon Carter in an interview at Vanity Fair’s inaugural Founders Fair conference in April. Ambition, she added, “is about having the confidence to live your life the way you choose.”
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