Gender Pay Gap in the Entertainment IndustryEqual Pay, Sex Discrimination
No doubt you are familiar with the gender pay gap and how women often do not get paid the same as men for the same type of work. But did you know that this unequal treatment in pay also applies to women in Hollywood? This article will highlight some examples of such gender inequalities and shed light on the pervasiveness of the unequal pay gap between men and women.
How Bad Is the Gender Pay Gap?
According to a 2015 study by the American Association of University Women, The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap, in 2013, women were paid 78% of what men were paid. And only some of this difference can be explained by the personal and professional decisions that women and men make.
For example, even after factoring in the college, major, geography, GPA, age, marital status, hours worked, profession, college major, time needed to find a job after graduation, and employer’s job selection process, female college graduates still made7% less than their male college graduate peers one year after graduation.
In an attempt to help alleviate this problem, the federal government has enacted laws to require equal pay regardless of sex, unless there is a legitimate reason for the discrepancy. We have discussed these laws and the gender pay gap in the following articles, which can be found on our website: Equal Pay Act and When a Woman Is Paid Less Than a Man.
Despite these attempts to eliminate the gender pay gap, it continues to exist. Sometimes the gap is so large in places such as Hollywood that making 78 cents on the dollar seems like a windfall.
The Gender Pay Gap in Hollywood
Just recently, Amanda Seyfried told the media that not only was she paid less than her male co-star in a major movie, but she also made 90% less. Amanda Seyfried’s theory for the difference in pay was that she believes she comes across as easygoing and is willing to take on a lot of roles.
While she didn’t explicitly state that she got less money because she was a woman, it’s safe to say that it was at least part of the reason, especially in light of other actresses making less than their male co-stars.
For example, as a result of the hacking of Sony, we learned about a December 2013 e-mail that explained that for the movie American Hustle, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid only 7% of backend compensation, while their male counterparts (Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper) received 9%.
Perhaps Amy Adams’ lower compensation was due to the fact that she wasn’t as big of a star as Cooper, Renner, or Bale. However, Lawrence’s discrepancy is more unsettling, since she was arguably as big of a star as her male colleagues (Jennifer Lawrence was coming off her popularity in The Hunger Games, and she became the second-youngest female to win a Best Actress Academy Award in February 2013).
To add more insult to the lower pay, Amy Adams ended up being nominated for an Academy Award for her role in American Hustle.
At least one positive has come from the Sony hacking scandal. Charlize Theron negotiated for the same pay that her co-star, Chris Hemsworth, will receive for the upcoming film The Huntsman. It is widely accepted that if it weren’t for this Sony hack information leak, Theron wouldn’t have received equal pay as Hemsworth.
While Theron was able to receive equal pay, it’s unfortunate that she was getting paid less to begin with and was only able to do something about it once she received “inside” information. In fact, compensation transparency is a major tool in fighting gender pay inequality and will be discussed in a later blog post.
Summing It Up
- In 2013, women were paid 78% of what men were paid.
- Even when factoring for variables such as geography, college, GPA, hours worked, marital status, etc., women one year out of college still made 7% less than their male classmates.
- The Equal Pay Act is a federal law that prohibits wage inequality based on sex.
- Female Hollywood stars are not immune to the gender pay gap:
- Amanda Seyfried was paid only 10% of what her male co-star was paid for a movie they both starred in.
- Jennifer Lawrence was paid less than her male stars in American Hustle despite being as popular as them and winning an Academy Award.
- Charlize Theron was set to make less than Chris Hemsworth in the upcoming movie The Huntsman, but upon learning from the Sony hacking scandal of the unequal pay in Hollywood, she was able to negotiate the same pay as Hemsworth.