Aside from the unending news of sexual misconduct, the biggest stir in Hollywood this past week was that actress Michelle Williams got paid 1000 times less than her co-star Mark Wahlberg to reshoot All the Money in the World. The highest-paid actor in the world attempted to put the matter to rest by donating his $1.5 million earnings to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, but the conversation isn’t over.
The story of Williams and Wahlberg is a highly-publicized example of the pay discrepancy between men and women in all workplaces. Three activists, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, Ai-jen Poo, and Monica Ramirez, penned a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter speaking to the gender injustice Williams and all women face.
“At the heart of the matter is the reality that women’s lives, and our work, are valued less than men’s, and this power imbalance is expressed in a plethora of ways: from pay disparity, to limited opportunities for promotion, to failure to recognize our work and contributions, to sexual harassment, abuse and violence,” they wrote in a post shared Monday.
In the column, the three cite pay gap statistics to emphasize the reality of pay discrimination. On average, women are paid 80 cents to a white man’s dollar. That number is lower for black women (63 cents), native women (57 cents), and Latina women (54 cents), and pay gaps are poorer depending on the industry.
“While Hollywood is trying to address its problem with sexual violence, we want to underscore that the failure to pay women fairly is another way of exacting violence on women workers by devaluing their worth and contributions,” the post reads.
All three of the activists attended the Golden Globes on Jan. 7 with actresses. Though some have commented that the move felt forced, the authors write that the action was not something they committed to lightly.
“The Golden Globes felt historic,” they wrote. “Linking arms and declaring Time's Up on gender discrimination, violence, and abuse were not hollow acts to us. We loudly and proudly stated that we are not going back to a time when women's lives and work are less valued. We will not sit silently in the face of injustice — not for the communities that we serve, our sisters in the entertainment industry or any other place. And we meant it.”
Read the full column here.