How the Gender Wage Gap Took Centerstage At the Recent Emmys

Among other things that were spoken about at the 2019 Emmy Awards, the gender wage gap was something that really stole the limelight at the show even as celebrities spoke about their shows, designer outfits and more. Winning an award for her role as the Broadway dancer and actress Gwen Verdon in FX’s “Fosse/Verdon”, Michelle Williams ended her thank you speech by highlighting the much-talked-about issue. 

Hollywood men and women are paid very differently

“The next time a woman — and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterparts — tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her,” Williams said. She also added that “Because one day, she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.” Speaking from her personal experience, the world knows that there is a prevalent gender wage gap in the industry and in 2018, just one actress made the list of the 10 highest-paid names, Scarlett Johanssen. Moreover, if one were to add up the earnings of the 10 highest made women in Hollywood, it would only be about a quarter of what the top 10 men earned. This isn’t the first time the gender wage gap has made waves so publically; the US women’s soccer team who won the world cup in 2019 is going through a gender wage gap lawsuit. 

Williams got 1% of what her co-star got in 2018

However, the gender wage gap among women of color is even starker when compared to white women in Hollywood. While things have improved since the 1960s, there hasn’t been much of a difference in the last decade and even though work environments have improved for women, there is still a bias against women and women of color. Hence, companies must support women as much as they do men and Williams knows the value of equal pay by FX and Fox 21 Studios. “They understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. And then, where do they put that value? They put it in their work,” she said. In 2018, Williams said in an interview with Vanity Fair that she had received 1 percent of her male co-star and though this was a humiliation for her, she hoped that it would be a turning point for the entire industry.

Image credit: Hollywood Reporter

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