2017 has become a landmark year for Emma Stone. Not only did she receive an Oscar for her role in “La La Land,” but she was recently named the highest-paid actress per Forbes’ annual rankings.
Unfortunately, there is a major catch. While Stone earned $26 million in the past year, she’s drastically out earned by her male counterparts. When you put male and female actors on the same list, as Forbes did this year, Stone’s rank drops from one to fifteen. Out of the fourteen actors who earned more than Stone this year, a notable name was Ryan Gosling — her “La La Land” costar who did not win an Oscar for his performance.
“A gender pay gap persists in Hollywood, even among elite earners,” Natalie Robehmed wrote for Forbes. “The top 10 actors banked a cumulative $488.5 million — nearly three times the $172.5 million combined total of the 10 top-earning women.”
With this data, it’s clear that the gender pay gap exists in all industries; even movie stars are affected! There are many reasons that wage disparity exists across the world, but Robehmed notes that the difference in movie stars’ salaries can be attributed to the films they worked on.
"In release schedules dominated by superhero movies and brawny blockbusters, there are simply fewer parts for women that pay the sizeable backend profits that result in leading men's large paydays,” she wrote. “Or, the franchise sequels that permit aggressive negotiation for favorable deals."
A recent study by USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism shed light on why the industry operates the way that it does. “The film industry still functions as a straight, White, boy’s club,” the researchers write. “Girls and women are less than one-third of all speaking characters, and comprise a small percentage of directors and writers of the major studio and art house releases.”
Basically, even though Wonder Woman kicks butt on screen, there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done behind it so we can reach gender parity. It’s not something we can solve overnight, but here are a few steps you can undergo today to make sure you’re being paid fairly and getting access to new opportunities.
Asking for more can feel intimidating, but know that women across the world are in the struggle with you. Not just your coworker, your mentor and your BFF, but even major stars from Charlize Theron to Emma Stone.