Why We Need Celebrities To Speak Out On The Gender Pay Gap | International Women’s Day 2017

If it’s not them, who else?

Earlier this year, news broke about how the main cast members of Big Bang Theory are giving up US$100,000 (RM444,950) from each of their salaries to help fellow co-stars (Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy, and Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette) who’re earning 80 per cent less than them. Fans all over the world were shocked by the revelation since it’s obvious Mayim and Melissa share an equal amount of screen time as the other four main cast.

The problem of women being underpaid has been around for way too long, and I’m glad celebrities are doing what they can to highlight the issue today. Yes, we might not be earning half as close to what those A-listers are, but the reality is, if it (pay inequality) could happen to them, then it could happen to any of us. In the light of all the celebrities lending their voices, women all over the world are finally standing up for themselves and fighting back against gender-wage discrimination, and to that I say, “It’s about time!”


1. Deborah Henry, 31

My fight for women’s rights is that a woman is able to make her own choices and that has always been the fundamental voice of feminism. Back in the day we fought for the right to vote and we are still fighting for equal pay. My fight is that women have the choice. Whether they choose to be a stay-at-home mum or join the work force, a system should exist, which supports them and their choices.”


2. Michelle Yeoh, 54

“Inequality abounds in schools, workplaces, the government and beyond, and that is why we need the Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme for Public and Private Enterprises.”


3. Rooney Mara, 31

“I’ve been in films where I’ve found out my male co-star got paid double what I got, and it’s just a reality of the times we live in. To me, it’s frustrating, but at the same time, I’m just grateful to be getting paid at all for what I do.”


4. Beyoncé, 35

“You know equality is a myth and for some reason, everyone accepts the fact that women don’t make as much money as men do. I don’t understand that. Why do we have to take a backseat?”


5. Jennifer Lawrence, 26

“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.”


6. Serena Williams, 35

“It frustrates me because I know first-hand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts. I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Neither would you!”


7. Emma Watson, 26

“We are not supposed to talk about money, because people will think you’re ‘difficult’ or a ‘diva’,” she says of the perception. “But there’s a willingness now to be like, ‘Fine. Call me a diva, call me a feminazi, call me difficult, call me a First World feminist, call me whatever you want, it’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing and make sure that the right thing happens’.”


8. Salma Hayek, 50

“This is a problem that appears in every single industry. If you have the same capacities and you are doing the same job, it is criminal not to pay the same salary.”


9. Charlize Theron, 41

“I have to give them credit because once I asked, they said yes. They did not fight it. And maybe that’s the message: that we just need to put our foot down.”


10. Natalie Portman, 35

“Ashton Kutcher was paid three times as much as me on No Strings Attached. I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood. Your quote is the highest you’ve ever been paid. His quote was three times higher than mine so they said he should get paid three times more. I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been! I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain. But the disparity is crazy.”


11. Viola Davis, 51

“I have to be honest with you. I believe in equal pay, first of all. I’m sorry but if a woman does the same job as a man, she should be paid the same amount of money. She just should. That’s just the way the world should work.”


12. Amanda Seyfried, 31

“A few years ago, on one of my big-budget films, I found out that I was being paid 10 per cent of what my male co-star was getting, and we were pretty even in status. I think people think that because I’m easy-going and game to do things, I’ll just take as little as they offer. But it’s not about how much you get, it’s about how fair it is.”


13. Jessica Alba, 35

“Women don’t get equal pay. There are not as many women in government or business positions. It’s just not equal. And until there is equality, you’re going to feel that in any industry. But I was like… girls should have an equal seat at the table.”


14. Jessica Chastain, 39

“There’s no reason why she should be doing a film with other actors and getting paid less than her male co-stars. It’s completely unfair. It’s not right. It’s been happening for years and years and years. I think it’s brave to talk about it. I think everyone should talk about it.”