Can Hollywood solve its gender pay disparity issue?
How can Hollywood resolve the gender pay gap?
In recent months several actors have come forward to speak about their experiences with the gender pay gap in Hollywood. The gap in income between women and men has been a problem for a long time. According to research conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, women make 83 cents for each dollar men earn. In the same way that women are not paid enough in every field, Hollywood has one of the most outrageous cases.
Recent research from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee revealed that actresses working in Hollywood get an average of less than $1 million per film than their male counterparts while doing the same movie.
There have been reports of shocking underpayments for female actors. For her part in “The Martian,” Jessica Chastain was paid an estimated $1.75 million, while her partner Matt Damon reportedly made about $25 million.
Mark Wahlberg faced heavy backlash after it was revealed that he was paid 8 times the amount of Michelle Williams for their work in “All the Money in the World.” The figures increase even more after it was revealed that Wahlberg demanded $1.5 million for reshoots after Kevin Spacey’s scandal. Kevin Spacey scandal, while Williams was reported to have received under $1,000. The backlash became so severe that Wahlberg was forced to donate the earnings he made from the shoots he reshoots.
Bryce Dallas Howard recently spoke about the disparity in pay that she as well as Chris Pratt for their work on the Jurassic World franchise. According to stories, Howard earned more money than her male counterpart Chris Pratt.
Neve Campbell has recently been in the news after she announced that she would not be appearing on the set of Scream 6. She made it clear that the reason for her coming to this conclusion was because she believed that the deal offered did not reflect the value she’s brought to the franchise over the last 25 years. In an interview with People magazine, she said she believed that it was time for her to be a woman working in the industry of film to stand up for what she is worth. She criticized the pay disparity between men and women in Hollywood as discriminatory and sexist.
Ellen Pompeo who plays Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy is among the most well-paid actors in the world of prime-time drama. But she was not able to achieve this feat effortlessly. Her interview in 2018 with Variety surprised a lot of people when she said that she had considered quitting the popular medical drama due to the gap in pay between herself with Patrick Dempsey.
As she said, Dempsey received nearly double what she was earning. She also spoke of the internal conflict she experienced each time they refused their request for equal pay. She said this experience taught her to negotiate her salary and to demand that she be paid what she is worth.
She was also a participant in an audience discussion that included Gabrielle Union and Gina Rodriguez and she wasn’t shy in her words when it came to this topic. In contrast, Rodriguez and Union talked about their struggles as women of color fighting for an equitable amount of pay in Hollywood. Union talked about the realities of the pressures that come from demanding fair compensation. She also talked about the feeling of being undervalued on set “I’m sure I won’t be feeling comfortable on set if feel that I’m undervalued and my salary isn’t in line with my contribution to the level I am at.”
Contracts and negotiations
Contract negotiation is an extremely difficult task in Hollywood due to the absence of transparency and the hidden back-end deals made that are made by corporate executives. There are a variety of factors to consider when negotiating contracts in the movie industry. The experiences of actors as well as the success of prior series/shows, as well as other factors that may influence the contract.
In some cases, the women aren’t aware they’re being paid less. Pompeo claimed that she was only aware of the gap in pay during the negotiation of the contract of actors in season 3.
In some instances, actresses don’t get receiving back-end cash from the proceeds of their work. This was the case with Diane Keaton who, unlike her co-star Jack Nicholson, never received the money she earned from the back end of her role as a character in “Something’s Gotta Give.”
Bryce Dallas Howard said upon discovering that she was paid far lower than Chris Pratt, there was no way to change it. This contract was signed contract and she had to produce three films in her Jurassic Park franchise. The only thing she could discuss were things that were not stipulated in the contract such as theme park rides or video games.
The general effects of these gender pay gaps
In the year 2018, Forbes named Scarlett Johansson and George Clooney the highest-paid female and male actors, respectively. Johansson was paid $40.5 million, while Clooney had made $239 million. This is an excellent example of how differences in pay affect wealth accumulation and diminish women’s earning potential throughout the years. It is difficult for women to come up with better estimates for their future projects and to get an equitable amount of payment.
This also leaves women actors feeling unappreciated for their efforts. Women work for the same amount of time in comparison to their male counterparts, shouldn’t they receive the same compensation in exchange for the value they bring to the company? Some might say yes.
In the wake of more actresses being forced to discuss the issues facing them, young actresses are learning about what they should do and how to approach their negotiations. These discussions are forcing individuals behind these executives’ decision-making to up their game and provide actresses with what they are entitled to.
Male co-stars are willingly joining the fight, and some are willing to cut their pay. Actors like Chris Pratt are supporting their female counterparts in negotiations discussions.
Emma Stone has also openly revealed her experiences in negotiations for equal pay for their male counterparts. She said that throughout her career co-stars with males had to negotiate paid less in order to be equal. She acknowledged their willingness to accept the reduction in wages, saying it changed her life. She believes it was an important factor in how she was named the highest-paid actress in the world in the year 2017.
As Hollywood is working to address this issue, more performers are likely to voice their opinions which will result in a more equitable distribution of wages. It is interesting that actors of the male gender are taking a strong position in support of their female counterparts may suggest that this might be changing in the near future.
Do you think actresses in Hollywood should be paid the same as their male counterparts? Or are the salary differences fair? Let us know in the comments below!
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