The pay gap between men and women in Hollywood still exists, and it doesn't seem to be getting much better for most actors, writers, producers, and directors. Not only are women largely underrepresented throughout much of the film industry, but they are under-compensated for the same amount of work they do when compared to their counterparts.  

This isn't a new conversation, by any means, but it is important to address while women and women of color are still experiencing massive wage gaps in Hollywood

Pay inequality is a pressing issue that many of us can feel in our chests. It's a daunting feeling to talk about solutions to problems that have seemingly always existed, but this conversation has to keep being had to eventually find a solution.  

Bryce Dallas Howard talks about the pay inequality she faced during 'Jurassic World''Jurassic World'Credit: Universal Pictures

The Gender Pay Gap in Hollywood 

Back in 2018,Variety reported that Bryce Dallas Howard was paid $8 million for her work in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdomwhile Chris Pratt made $10 million.

But in a recent interview with Insider, she revealed there was actually a bigger gap than that.

“The reports are so interesting because I was paid so much less than the reports even said, so much less,” Howard told Insider. 

This kind of gender wage gap isn't very shocking news

Margot Robbie as the titular character in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is 2022’s highest-paid actress, according to Variety, bringing in $12.5 million for her part, the same amount that her co-star Ryan Gosling received for his role as Ken. While we are unsure exactly what Gosling’s part is in the overall film, the payments each actor received don’t really make sense when looking at their roles. 

Margot Robbie was paid $12 million for her role as BarbieMargot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in Greta Gerwig's upcoming 'Barbie'Credit: Getty Images

While Robbie is the highest-paid actress of the year, Gosling is far from being the highest-paid actor. That title belongs to Tom Cruise, who was paid a humbling $100 million to reprise his role as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick. Although Cruise might seem like an exception to this wild gender income gap, the second highest paid actor, Will Smith, received $35 million for the upcoming Emancipation. 

The most infamous instance of pay inequality in Hollywood happened when Michelle Williams found she was paid less than $1,000 for reshoots for All the Money in the World while her co-star Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for the exact same job.  

"In late 2017, the news broke that I'd been paid less than $1,000 compared to the $1.5 million that my male counterpart had received for the exact same amount of work," William said at Capitol Hill on Equal Pay Day. "And guess what, no one cared. This came as no surprise to me, it simply reinforced my life-learned belief that equality is not an inalienable right and that women would always be working just as hard for less money while shouldering more responsibility at home."

There are so many issues regarding pay inequality between female and male co-stars that have made headlines for years, but the argument can be made that all A-list movie stars are absurdly overpaid. So let’s look at other jobs in Hollywood to see what the pay gap between women and men looks like. 

Michelle Williams was shocked by the lack of pay equity for 'All the Money in the World' reshootsMichelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg in 'All the Money in the World'Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

It’s Not Just Actors

In 2018, television writers started to crowdsource information about their salaries in a Google spreadsheet in an attempt to address racial and gender discrimination. The pay equity between men and women is staggering, and the gap widens for women of color. If we are going to discuss pay equity, everyone’s voices need to be heard. 

The Guardian reported that the spreadsheet showed that white male co-producers made $25,000 an episode for a show while white female co-producers reported earning $14,000 per episode for a show with the same studio and network. Female BIPOC co-producers reported making even less at $10,000 per show. 

The most recent analysis of diversity in film and television by the Writers Guild of America West, a union representing film and television writers, found that women and people of color remain underrepresented among the screenwriters in the industry. Women accounted for 11% of writers working on the top 250 films of 2017, which is a 2% decline from 2016.

This is a major problem that has plagued Hollywood and the U.S. for years, and it’s barely getting better despite the transparency of those who are getting paid. 

What Are the Solutions? 

When it comes to paydays, women have often gotten the short end of the stick. This has been an issue that has unfortunately been around since women entered the workforce. 

We can’t pretend that this doesn’t happen, but we also have to be aware of how we are having the conversation about gender wage inequality to avoid a negative feedback loop that ultimately ends with someone saying, “Women should be paid more.” While true, it’s not a helpful perspective that prompts action. 

The problem is structural, and incredibly complicated, steaming from years and years of internalized sexism. According to UWM labor economist John Heywood, "Labor economists often distinguish between discrimination that might happen in the employment market … and discrimination that occurs because of customer preference."

Bryce Dallas Howard talks about how Christ Pratt fought for equal pay between the two actors'Jurassic World: Dominion"Credit: Universal Pictures

In Howard’s case, she was fortunate enough to have a costar who was supportive of her having equal pay.

“What I will say is that Chris [Pratt] and I have discussed it, and whenever there was an opportunity to move the needle on stuff that hadn’t been already negotiated, like a game or a ride, he literally told me, ‘You guys don’t even have to do anything. I’m gonna do all the negotiating. We’re gonna be paid the same and you don’t have to think about this, Bryce,'” Howard said.

Unfortunately, not every costar would do what Pratt did, so what else can we do in the fight for gender pay equality? 

One solution is to talk about what we are being paid with our coworkers or costars.

I remember growing up and being told to never discuss your income or ask someone what they make, because it was rude. The truth is that people don’t want you to discover that your coworker is making more money than you are, for whatever reason. Learning how much your coworkers or costars are making can benefit you when it comes to negotiations for the next job. 

If you have an agent, make sure that they are willing to fight for the best pay possible. Talk to them about what you believe you deserve for the role or position that you are up for, so they understand your income expectations.

You know you’re skilled and have an unrivaled talent. If someone wants to work with you, then they will pay you for what you’re worth. Do not let anyone take advantage of you by paying you less than your worth. 

As consumers of media, we have the responsibility to support others in all parts of the industry. From actresses to directors to writers and producers, we have to create a demand that pushed studios to hire and properly pay all of the women in the industry what they deserve. 

Source: Insider