If you watched the Golden Globes this past Sunday night, you would have noticed a different type of red carpet. All of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest showed their solidarity with the #MeToo movement – sporting all black ensembles. Something else that stood out was E!’s Live on the Red Carpet special where Debra Messing made a blunt statement about how the network pays its male and female co-hosts and the importance of pay equality.
Messing is referring to the December 2017 departure of Catt Sadler from E! Network after discovering that her co-host – Jason Kennedy – was paid roughly double her salary. Sadler reportedly tried to negotiate with the network, but was unable to reach an agreement – resulting in her departure. Messing is not the first time an A-list actress to speak out about being paid less than her male co-stars. Jennifer Lawrence has also been very vocal about being paid less, stating that she felt that if she held out for more money that she feared being viewed as too aggressive or difficult.
Despite the attention from Hollywood – pay inequality is nothing new
While it’s nice that pay inequality is starting to receive mainstream attention in the media– women have made less than their male counterparts for decades. It is widely reported that woman earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for doing similar work. The disparity can be even more apparent in high earning positions in Fortune 500 companies and in entertainment.
Hollywood is speaking out – now what?
It’s not enough to acknowledge that women are paid less in the workplace. We have to change the culture in which we live. Women are afraid to negotiate higher salaries because we don’t want to come across as too difficult or a person no one wants to work with. Further, when we do have the strength to speak up – we find that employers are willing to let women leave their positions because there’s surely another woman willing to be paid less than her make co-workers.
The only way to push back is to stick together. We all have to speak up if we believe we are not being treated fairly in the workplace. It’s also important that women in leadership positions encourage salary transparency and push for equality for rank and file employees. These small changes can go a long way in helping to bridge the gap between the salaries offered to men and women.
What more do you think can be done to push for equal pay in the workplace? Should women speak out more on their own? Or, should we support organizations that support this issue?