From Marilyn to Meryl, Hollywood has always idolised iconic actresses in film. The industry itself hands out awards and promotional adoration, but when it comes to their pay, Hollywood seems to love the ladies a little bit, sometimes even a lot, less. Not only are women misrepresented in both film and television, they are almost always paid a substantial amount less then their male co-stars.
The issue of wage inequality is by no means a new one, or one that is solely alive in Hollywood. The subject did however become a hop topic when Patricia Arquette delivered a rousing call for equal pay at the 2015 Academy Awards.
There have been small victories since then, Charlize Theron successfully negotiated a salary rise for her role in the Snow White and The Huntsman sequel, but that seems to be a very small stone in a very large pond.
The world’s highest-paid actress, Jennifer Lawrence, made $52 million in 2015—an impressive number until it is compared to the $80 million banked by Robert Downey Jr., the world’s top-paid actor.
Lawrence may have proven herself as a box office and critical success with The Hunger Games and films like Silver Linings Playbook, but Wikileaks revealed that the actress and her American Hustle co-star Amy Adams received a 7% cut of that film’s profits, 2 percent less than the film’s male leads, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner. While Lawrence may have had a smaller role than her male counterparts, back-end compensation is typically awarded based on star power and gravitas, which Lawrence possesses on par with Bale and Renner.
It is surprising to many that this is an issue in 2016, a year when a woman is running for President in America, yet there is still so much gender injustice in the workplace, whether that’s a film set or a factory floor. It is therefore evident that this is an issue we need to discuss, and bring to the forefront, this is an issue that had been plaguing women for centuries and it needs to be stopped. Hollywood or hairdresser, we all deserve equal pay.