The list of highest paid Hollywood actors and actresses for 2016 revealed a couple of things, as we’ve shown in a Kulture Hub article earlier this year.
First is that former rapper and model Mark Wahlberg made the right choice, financially, by transitioning into acting back in the ‘90s. And second: the gender pay disparity in Hollywood is wide.
Emma Stone, who was the highest paid actress, came in at No. 15 in the list. She was one of only three actresses who earned more than $20 million in 2016, as opposed to 16 actors who reached that mark. All in all, the 10 highest paid actresses earned approximately one-third of what the top 10 actors accumulated.
It’s a trend that, unfortunately, isn’t unique to Hollywood. The inequality is also rampant in Bollywood, which hires more people, produces more films, and sells more tickets than its Los Angeles counterpart.
Forbes relayed the sentiments of Indian film superstars like Aditi Rao Hydari and Kangana Ranaut who claimed that they get paid three times less than their male co-stars.
Looking at the bigger picture though, this long-standing dilemma is present in every industry. The World Economic Forum declared that “there is no country on Earth where women make as much as men for the same work.”
If you’re a career woman, this is not entirely surprising. Newsweek reported that women earned 83 cents for every dollar men earned in 2016, a gap that hasn’t budged since the year prior.
Although the rift narrowed since 1980 – when women earned 64 cents for every dollar men earned – it’s not closing fast enough. This is still the case even if women have been making great strides in terms of presence, influence, educational attainment, and skill levels in the workplace.
The causes vary depending on industry, location, age, and race, as researched by the American Association of University Women.
For instance, the pay gap is lowest in New York, where the ratio of female to male earnings was at 89 percent. The largest, on the other hand, is in Louisiana, where women earn 70 cents to every dollar earned by men. That’s well below the national average.
Receiving a better salary isn’t as simple as moving to New York either, since age plays a big role in the amount men and women earn. While wages increase for full-time workers of both genders as they age, the pay gap tends to widen as women hit their late 20s.
By age 45, the rate of increase goes down for women, with earnings decreasing after they hit 55. This means that 20-year-old women are more likely to earn wages closer to their male counterparts than 50-year-old women.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume you moved to New York and managed to stop aging. Still, your industry is a limiting factor. Finance and insurance, collectively, has the largest pay gap at 29.1 percent.
Public administration comes second with 25.6 percent, followed closely by the professional, scientific, and technical services with 25.2 percent. The pay gap is even worse for racial minorities, with Hispanic women earning just 54 percent of what white men earn on average.
However bleak it seems at the moment, the good news is that certain people and organizations are trying to close the wage gap faster and condemning gender inequality. Among the high-profile and outspoken figureheads in this regard is Simon Cowell, the music mogul and owner of several reality show franchises.
Due to his standing in the industry, Cowell is in a good position to talk about the issue, considering the success of his creations. His top talent competition series The X-Factor, for instance, has spawned a variety of off-shoot projects including The X-Factor Official Music Merchandise Store and The X-Factor Games digital platform.
Recently though, the show made headlines due to the revelation that Cowell is paying his female judges Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne more than Louis Walsh.
Digital Spy specified that it was a response to the report about the top earners of the BBC that showed a massive disparity in terms of pay, which he described as “hugely embarrassing”.
As for organizations, the Huffington Post identified 10 companies that prioritize equality in their workforce. These include GAP, Prologis, Bank of America, Target, and Morgan Stanley.
With more people and firms fronting their support for equal pay, perhaps the goal of closing the wage gap is a little closer at hand.
But until then, women and all advocates of the cause need to continue working hard.