Hollywood’s Efforts To Close The Gender Wage Gap

By Eliza Fogel

HBO recently announced the network’s proactive effort to close the wage gap of Hollywood’s female and male stars. HBO credits Reese Witherspoon, a prominent female actress and producer of the network’s award winning series Big Little Lies, of championing this issue. HBO’s President of Programming Casey Bloys revealed that Witherspoon’s role as a founding member of the Time’s Up and #Me Too movements and bringing awareness to the imbalance in salaries throughout Hollywood including HBO, inspired the network to scrutinize the salaries on their projects and make adjustments where necessary. In addition to addressing harassment and sexual misconduct directed towards women, the Time’s Up movement has also focused their efforts to ensure that the wage gap between men and women is closed. As explained by Boys, the process of creating an equal salary structure is making sure less experienced actors receive advice on how to advocate for proper pay, ensuring those with less experience are paid fairly in relation to their co-stars. Equal pay advocates say payroll audits are key in order for businesses to eliminate wage inequality.


Other Women In Hollywood Reveal How They Used Their Influence To Help Fellow Actresses Get Fair Salaries

By Chloe Cornell

In 2015, Jessica Chastain told Variety that Jennifer Lawrence was brave and entitled to write and essay about the discrepancy between her salary and that of her male co-stars.  More recently, she used her clout to get a five-time increase for Octavia Spencer’s asking salary for an upcoming comedy the two are working on.  Brit + Co. reported on Chastain’s power move where the actress explained, “She (Spencer) had been underpaid for so long. When I discovered that, I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female co-stars.”  Spencer said of her friend, “She’s walking the walk.”

Ellen Pompeo has credited Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes with giving her the courage to ask for a salary raise, leading her to become TV’s highest-paid dramatic actress with a $20 million a year contract. Pompeo shared her evolution to recognize her value to the hit show in The Hollywood Reporter saying she once asked to get $5,000 more than her co-star Patrick Dempsey out of principle, as she was the title character of the show.  ABC rejected her request. After fourteen years and 300 episodes, Pompeo had more power to negotiate better terms.  Rhimes shared the advice that she gave Pompeo for her 2017 renegotiation, “Decide what you think you’re worth and then ask for what you think you’re worth. Nobody’s just going to give it to you.”  Pompeo publicly shared her successful negotiation with ABC to help empower other women in Hollywood to feel confident asking for what they deserve.

Oprah Winfrey revealed how she had to threaten to leave her daytime talk show at one point in order to help negotiate better salaries for her all-female team of producers. She told Time Magazine in 2017, “I went to my boss at the time and I said, ‘Everybody needs a raise.’ And he said, ‘Why?'” she recalled. “He actually said to me, ‘They’re only girls. They’re a bunch of girls. What do they need more money for?’ I go, ‘Well, either they’re gonna get raises, or I’m gonna sit down. I will not work unless they get paid.'”


Ms. Foundation for Women Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision

By Caroline Antonacci

On May 3, 2018, Gloria Steinem and Teresa C. Younger will be hosting the Ms. Foundation for Women’s 30th Annual Gloria Awards. The Gloria Awards is named after Gloria Steinem, one of the founders of the organization. The awards is a yearly celebration that recognizes leaders who have made great impacts on the gender justice movement. Last year, the event raised over one million dollars to support women- led organizations from all over the US. Ms. Foundation works to bring attention to challenges facing women by advocating for policy change.They build women’s collective power and envision a safe world for all people equally. This year’s gala is a salute to Women of Vision, who act on oppression in order to build community. Five women will be honored at the awards. Ava Duvernay, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and Woman of Vision, Elaine Welteroth, former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader, Shannan Reaze, executive director of Atlanta Jobs with Justice and Woman of Vision, Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong and Woman of Vision, and Joanne Smith, Executive director of Girls for Gender Equality and Woman of Vision.

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