The ugly truth: Sexism rules Hollywood paycheques

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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a man’s paycheck in any industry is far superior to that of a woman’s doing the same job having the same qualifications. The wage gap is a persisting reality across the board and in Hollywood, the difference is glaring.

Stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep who have multiple Oscar nominations and coveted statuettes to their name are often paid less than their male counterparts. The much-disputed claim that a male-oriented movie make more money is an old wive’s tale reeking of misogyny.

With movies like ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Rogue One: The Force Awakens’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and more making millions, it’s high time that the female stars, directors and technicians are paid accordingly.

A list compiled by Forbes in 2016 showed the 10 highest paid actresses earned $ 205 m between them which was less than half the sum earned by male stars in the same year. With multiple female stars speaking out against this blatant sexism, the gender discrimination within the movie industry has come out in the open.

Here are some discriminatory experiences of accomplished women in Hollywood and what they have to do say about it. Read it to believe.


“You know, equality is a myth, and for some reason, everyone accepts the fact that women don’t make as much money as men do. I don’t understand that. Why do we have to take a backseat?”

 In 2014, she wrote an essay about gender equality demanding men to join the fight against gender inequality and unequal pay, “Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change.”

Meryl Streep

Event this three-times Academy Award winner actress wasn’t left unscathed by Hollywood’s sexism. She says, “I experience it [sexism] and I become a tiny bit enraged.”

“It’s not just show business; it is in every single enterprise. The actress wrote a letter to every single member of Congress demanding they “stand up for equality”. She wrote about how an entire generation of women are standing up for equality-equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights and its time they are awarded that.

When asked if she is paid less than her male co-stars, she revealed “Yes”.

 Natalie Portman

In a shocking revelation, Portman told the world that she was paid three times less than her male co-star Ashton Kutcher for their 2011 rom-com “No Strings Attached”.

“Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar,” Portman told a magazine. “In Hollywood we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”

Emma Stone

‘In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them,’ said the La La Land actress. ‘That’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair.’

But, this Academy award-winning actress also revealed that women in Hollywood are paid 20% less than their male counterparts ‘at best’.

 Viola Davis

Race mingled with gender creates huge disparities. Emmy award-winning actress Viola Davis (HTGAWM) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) make $250,000 per episode, far less than Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo, who brings in $400,000 per episode, while other male stars in mediocre shows get paid way more.

Viola Davis addressing this issue said, “If a woman does the same job as a man, she should be paid the same amount of money. She just should. That’s just the way the world should work. What are you telling your daughter when she grows up? ‘You’ve got to just understand that you’re a girl. You have a vagina, so that’s not as valuable.’ What are you telling her?” She asked, throwing the question to the world.

Charlize Theron

This actress discovered through leaked emails that Chris Hemsworth was making $10 million more than her for the film “Snow White and the Huntsman.” On hearing this, she demanded equal pay as her male co-star and Universal agreed. It shows that it pays to speak up, however in the showbiz where male voices automatically trump female ones, this is a rare case.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain, star of Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar and more was quoted saying, “We need more diversity. We’re not telling the stories of many, we’re telling the stories of few. There’s a problem with the storytelling, with the protagonists…it’s in front of the camera, it’s behind the camera…This is not how we want to be working and we need to tell the stories of all.”

“There’s misinformation out there. Someone wrote an article once that I made a certain amount of money for The Martian. I made less than a quarter of that in reality. And so people are already saying, ‘yeah, she’s making less than her male co-stars because she’s making this.’ I made less than a quarter of that in reality. There is a huge wage gap in the industry.”

She has been paid much less compared to her male co-stars in the past and has announced that she will not be taking up any roles where she is paid less for equal work.

 Patricia Arquette

Patricia Arquette has been fighting against the wage gap for a long time and in her Oscar acceptance speech for Boyhood, she said, “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Arquette has taken her fight a step forward and is bringing the fight for pay equality centrestage once again as she launches a new initiative with UN Women, championing the need to support women’s economic empowerment. The actress who was paid minuscule amount for her role in Boyhood has been a champion for this cause.

About her Academy award and speech, “I was winning that award for the part of a single mom who was the primary breadwinner and caretaker for her kids and I thought about how different her life would have been had she actually been paid her full dollar,” said Arquette.

Sarah Silverman 





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