‘In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar’
Hollywood is an industry known for promoting progressive values in America and abroad. But when it comes to its treatment of women, the film industry has a very difficult time practicing what it preaches. Hollywood actresses face rampant ageism, are underrepresented on screen, and paid much less than men—even when they share equal billing.
Recently, Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman revealed she was paid one-third of what co-star Ashton Kutcher was paid for their work on 2011’s No Strings Attached. “I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood,” she told Marie Claire U.K. “His quote was three times higher than mine so they said he should get 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.”
Portman isn’t alone in being screwed by Hollywood’s sexist pay gap. According to Forbes, the world’s ten highest paid actresses earned a combined $205 million over the last year. While the ten highest-paid actors earned a combined $456.5 million over the same period. “Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar,” Portman continued. “In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”
Those that wish to uphold the unequal treatment of women often point to box-office receipts to explain the discrepancy. But according to a study published by Indiewire, “Female-led movies not only make money, but make more money than male-driven ones.” The problem could be that women are underrepresented behind the camera, comprising only 1.9 percent of directors, 11.2 percent of writers, and 18.9 percent of producers. “I don’t think women and men are more or less capable. We just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities. We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem,” Portman said.