It’s 2017, and women are still fighting for gender equality, equal pay, and mothers’ rights like paid family leave, health care access, affordable childcare, and so much more. Over the past few years, a number of celebrities have come forward to support these issues, particularly the need for equal pay — in Hollywood, there’s a significant pay gap disparity between male and female actors.
Below are 11 celebrity women who have spoken out on equal pay and mothers’ rights. This group is diverse in age, ethnicity, and in their careers, but their insistence on equality remains a commonality. Check out who’s in our career corner in Hollywood below:
1. Anne Hathaway
"The assumption and common practice that women and girls look after the home and the family is a stubborn and very real stereotype that not only discriminates against women, but limits men's participation and connection with the family," Hathaway said. "The deeper into the issue of paid parental leave I go, the clearer I see the connection between persisting barriers to women's full equality and empowerment, and the need to redefine, and in some cases destigmatize, men's role as caregivers. In other words, to liberate women, we need to liberate men."
2. Hayden Panettiere
Since being diagnosed with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter in 2014, she’s been outspoken on issues relating to maternal health care and postpartum depression awareness
During an interview with Yahoo, Hayden said, "It is one of the most debilitating, scary, guilty feelings that you can ever feel. That a mother would not be able to connect with their child, would not be able to get a grip, or would not know what’s going on, for anybody to say that it’s false or created by us, you must have your head examined.”
3. Kerry Washington
At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Kerry spoke about not giving our rights away:
"Today there are people trying take away rights that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for: our right to vote, our right to choose, affordable quality education, equal pay, access to health care. We the people can't let that happen."
4. Rosario Dawson
In an interview with MTV in 2015 she spoke about the intersectionality of the wage gap:
“It’s a very complex situation when you think about what are black women making in comparison to white women, what are Latin women making, what are Asian women making in comparison,” she said. “And it gets even more convoluted.”
5. Salma Hayek
At Variety’s Power of Women luncheon said,
“[Women] are 66 percent of the work power of the world. However, we only get 10 percent of the income of the world,” she said. “This is really, really sad and tragic.”
“We are such an economical power, women in the country,” she added. “We represent such a strong part of the audience that they cannot ignore us anymore.”
6. Nicki Minaj
In an interview with Cosmopolitan Nicki said, “Women are uncomfortable talking about money. I know it’s taboo to discuss it at work,” Minaj said. “You have to ask questions. ‘What is this person getting?’ Do your research. I’ve always been pretty competitive in terms of my pay.”
7. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer reflects on self-responsibility, and not giving her power away. In an essay for Lenny Letter, she writes,
“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,” Lawrence wrote. “I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.”
8. Emma Watson
Emma was the force behind the UN gender equality campaign: HeForShe addressing equal pay and education access. She writes,
“Whether you are a woman on a tea plantation in Kenya, or a stockbroker on Wall Street, or a Hollywood actress, no one is being paid equally.”
9. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Beyoncé wrote in 2014 how gender equality will take the efforts of both men and women to achieve the goal of equality. From The Shriver Report she wrote,
“We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn't a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”
10. Carli Lloyd
For those who don’t know, she’s the star midfielder of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team. In an op –ed for the New York Times she wrote,
“We can’t right all the world’s wrongs, but we’re totally determined to right the unfairness in our field, not just for ourselves but for the young players coming up behind us and for our soccer sisters around the world,” Lloyd wrote. “Simply put, we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens. It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it.”
11. Melissa Harris-Perry
“Seventy-seven is how many cents women working full time currently make for every dollar men are paid. $11,084 is the yearly wage gap created by that pay deficit between full-time working men and women,” Harris-Perry said. “Sixty-four cents is how much African-American women are paid for every dollar men earn, showing that women of color are more impacted by these unequal pay disparities.”
See a full clip from a segment in 2013 on her former MSNBC show.
We still have a lot of work to do, and a lot or progress to achieve before we see gender equality, equal pay, equal access for education, proper maternal health care, paid family leave and affordable childcare. There are many incredible celebrities speaking out on these issues, and I hope to see more and more do so in the future.
Jennifer Mayer supports parents through pregnancy, birth, new parenthood and the transition back to work. Shes the founder of Baby Caravan, a birth & postpartum doula agency and Baby Caravan at Work, a corporate consulting practice based in New York City. Jennifer lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
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