The Women’s Foundation of Colorado Announces Sports Icon, Equal Pay Gamechanger Billie Jean King as Annual Luncheon Special Guest

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The Women's Foundation of Colorado (WFCO) announced on Equal Pay Day that Billie Jean King – sports icon, humanitarian, and crusader for social justice and equality – will be its Annual Luncheon special guest on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

The Women's Foundation of Colorado (WFCO) announced on Equal Pay Day that Billie Jean King – sports icon, humanitarian, and crusader for social justice and equality – will be its Annual Luncheon special guest on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. The Foundation’s Annual Luncheon is the state’s largest fundraiser for the economic advancement of Colorado women and their families and will draw nearly 3,000 guests.

King has secured her place in history as a gamechanger, on and off the court. She won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles including a record 20 Wimbledon championships. She famously defeated Bobby Riggs in a 1973 match that became known as the Battle of the Sexes. A historic moment in sports and a pivotal moment in the advancement of women, the match became the subject of the 2017 film Battle of the Sexes starring Academy Award® winner Emma Stone as King.

King’s other major victories include:

  • Securing equal prize money at the U.S. Open in 1973, the first of the four major tournaments to achieve pay equity. All four Grand Slam tennis tournaments now offer equal prize money.
  • Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of her social justice work and accomplishments in sports.
  • Founding the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974, which has awarded more than $50 million in educational and cash grants to advance participation, research, and leadership in sports and physical activity for girls and women.
  • Founding the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative to address the critical issues required to achieve inclusive leadership in companies and organizations across the globe.

“Despite recent gains in narrowing the gender pay gap, it remains a persistent barrier to Colorado women and families reaching economic security,” said Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. “We are thrilled that the iconic Billie Jean King will share her insights and ideas with our community of supporters as we continue to work to achieve equal pay and economic security for all women regardless of their background, identity, or industry.”

In March 2018, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) released a new report on the economic status of women in Colorado, sponsored by The Women’s Foundation. It showed progress in closing the gender pay gap, but only for some Colorado women.

  • Women in Colorado aged 16 and older who work full-time, year-round earn 86.0 cents on the dollar compared with men who work full-time, year-round.
  • Substantial pay disparities across racial and ethnic groups persist. Hispanic women earn just 53.5 cents for every dollar earned by white men (the highest earners) and black women earn 63.1 cents.
  • While some women have experienced economic advancement, other women have fallen further behind: In 2004, 90.4% of all Colorado women lived above the poverty level. In 2016, the number had fallen to 85.7% of all Colorado women living above poverty.
  • Achieving pay equity would propel more Colorado women toward economic security. If employed women in Colorado were paid the same as comparable men, their poverty rate would be reduced by half.

WFCO’s Annual Luncheon, which began in 1990, raises critical funds for WAGES (Women Achieving Greater Economic Security), The Foundation’s programmatic body of work that employs research, public policy advocacy, and strategic grantmaking to help Colorado women earn a livable wage. Past Annual Luncheon special guests and keynote speakers include Octavia Spencer, Misty Copeland, Lisa Ling, America Ferrera, and Jane Fonda.

About the 2018 Annual Luncheon
When: Wednesday, October 10, 2018
11:30 a.m.
Where: Colorado Convention Center
700 14th St. | Denver, CO 80202

Individual tickets are priced at $150 and can be purchased at starting Wednesday, May 9. Sponsorships begin at $2,500 and can be purchased now at or by contacting Kristina Vaio, kristinav(at)wfco(dot)org, 303-285-2967.

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is the only statewide community foundation dedicated to creating more pathways to prosperity for Colorado women and their families through the power of community, philanthropy, and impact.

Since 1987, WFCO has funded more than 30 research reports that identify the systemic barriers that keep women from earning a livable wage, helped pass nearly 40 pieces of legislation that have created economic opportunities, and granted more than $17 million to nonprofits that work with women and families in communities statewide.

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