Today marks 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was created, but how far have we really come since then? Well, according to a new TUC (Trades Union Congress) analysis, women are still more likely to be paid less than men...
They explained that part of the reason for this is that more females take on key worker roles, which are on the lower end of the pay scale – of the estimated 9.8 million out there, nearly two-thirds are women. The TUC also said that 2.6 million female key workers earn less than £10 an hour (the London living wage is currently £10.75 an hour, for the rest of the country it's £9.30).
Frances O'Grady, TUC's general secretary, said of the new research, "Fifty years after brave women won the legal right to equal pay, coronavirus has confirmed that pay inequality is still rife in Britain today. Working women have led the fight against coronavirus, but millions of them are stuck in low-paid and insecure jobs.
"As we emerge from this crisis, we need a reckoning on how we value and reward women's work. Without proper change it will take decades to close the gender pay gap."
These discrepancies are seen in plenty of other roles and industries too, from large-scale companies having all-male leadership teams to female actresses being paid literal millions less for their work on movies. So, despite the fact that conversations around equal pay have now been taking place in a formal capacity for half a century (yeah, let that one sink in), there's still a long way to go when it comes to levelling the playing field.
Here are some of the most influential women in the world who have spoken out about it over the past few years:
1. "In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily — that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, 'That’s what’s fair.' If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life," — Emma Stone in an interview with Out Magazine in 2017
2. "I was told that female actors are replaceable in films because they just stand behind a guy anyway. I’m still used to being paid — like most actresses around the world — a lot less than the boys. We’re told we’re too provocative or that being sexy is our strength, which it can be, and it is, but that’s not the only thing we have.... It’ll be scary. There will be strife. But women have incredible endurance and incredible strength." — Priyanka Chopra in a 2017 interview with Glamour
3. “I think my goal is to make sure that all women of colour get equal pay, and all women get equal pay. The only way to do it is to have these conversations, to talk numbers with your co-stars. Jessica [Chastain] and I stood together, and that was interesting that she would take that position – well I mean, she is Jessica Chastain – but we also need advocates and allies in negotiating.” — Octavia Spencer speaking at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019
4. "I am in the rare position to be financially successful beyond my imagination. I had talent, I worked like crazy and I was lucky enough to break through. But today isn’t about me. It’s about the other 24 million black women in America. If I never picked up a tennis racket, I would be one of them; that is never lost on me." — Serena Williams in a 2017 essay for Fortune
5. "I want to be paid fairly for the work that I’m doing. That’s what every single woman around the world wants. We want to be paid on parity with a man in a similar position." —Felicity Jones, in the November 2016 issue of Glamour
6. "But the truth is, we still have so much more to do. Take the fact that women around the world still don’t have equal pay, or that nine countries around the world don’t provide for paid maternity leave. When you look at the facts, you have to ask yourself: Where do we really stand when it comes to gender equality? The answer is: We’re just not there yet.” —America Ferrera, in an email to supporters of the Clinton Foundation in March 2015
7. "Women who can afford to take [full maternity leave] often don’t because it will mean incurring a 'motherhood penalty'— meaning they will be perceived as less dedicated to their job and will be passed over for promotions and other career advancement. In my own household, my mother had to choose between a career and raising three children- a choice that left her unpaid and under-appreciated as a homemaker because there just wasn’t support for both paths. " - Anne Hathaway, addressing the United Nations on International Women’s Day 2017 as part of the #HeForShe movement
8. "Imagine you're a little girl. You're growing up. You practice as hard as you can, with girls, with boys. You have a dream. You fight, you work, you sacrifice to get to this stage. You work as hard as anyone you know. And then you get to this stage, and you're told you're not the same as a boy. Almost as good, but not quite the same. Think how devastating and demoralising that could be." —Venus Williams, at a July 2005 Grand Slam Committee meeting
9. "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." —Beyoncé, in The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Pushes Back from the Brink in 2014
10. "When a politician is against equal pay for women and/or ENDA, I think it begs the question, should they be a politician?" —Ellen Page, in a tweet from 2014
11. "A few years ago, on one of my big-budget films, I found I was being paid 10 percent of what my male co-star was getting, and we were pretty even in status. I think people think because I'm easygoing 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." —Amanda Seyfried, in a 2015 interview with the Sunday Times
12."Women don't get equal pay, there are not as many women in government positions 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. Take Jennifer Lawrence. I mean, she's opening films — she's the box-office draw just as much as any guy, if not more. She should be compensated for that." —Jessica Alba, in the April 2016 issue of Cosmopolitan UK
13. "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. I didn't want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don't need." —Jennifer Lawrence, in a Lenny Letter article from October 2015
14. "The reality is that if we do nothing, it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred, before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work." —Emma Watson, at an event for the HeForShe Campaign in 2014
15. "Publishing figures is the first step. It’s a forensic way of looking at how women are second-class citizens and I really appreciate that because it’s not emotional. This is the fact: this person does the same work for less money and that’s just wrong.” — Emma Thompson speaking to Good Housekeeping UK's September 2018 issue.
16. "If fighting for equal pay and paid family leave is playing the gender card, then deal me in!" —Hillary Clinton, in Harlem at the Apollo Theatre in March 2016
17. "It was a play with just two of us onstage and I was offered less than half of what he was going to be paid. If it was two men, it wouldn't probably happen. Sad, but I walked away… The only way is to make a stand. We are going to have to make sacrifices to make change. I want to turn up and feel dignified." —Sienna Miller, in the October 2015 issue of Vogue UK
18. "It can be frustrating. It can be painful. Your salary is a way to quantify what you're worth. If men are being paid a lot more for doing the same thing, it feels shitty." —Gwyneth Paltrow, in a 2015 Variety article
19. "If you were to really look at it, the boys are still getting more money for a lot of garbage, while the ladies are hustling and doing amazing work for less." —Tina Fey, to Town and Country in March 2016
20. "This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing. It doesn't mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you're doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way." —Charlize Theron, in the June 2015 issue of ELLE UK
21. "If you have the same capacities and you are doing the same job, it is criminal not to [be paid] the same salary." —Salma Hayek at Variety's Power of Women luncheon in 2015
22. "What are you telling your daughter when she grows up? 'You've got to just understand that you're a girl. You have a vagina. So that's not as valuable.'" —Viola Davis, in a 2016 interview with Mashable
23. "Women make up nearly half our workforce... They work hard every day at every kind of work there is. Yet they’re still paid less than men. We know how important achieving equality is for all of us. A world where women ran half of our companies and countries and men ran half of our homes would be a better world. Our companies would be more successful, our laws more just, and our children would gain from their fathers’ care as much as they do from their mothers" - Sheryl Sandberg, writing for USA Today in 2017
24. "Throughout my career, there have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender. And always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience, maybe there was something I was missing. I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy's club. But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realised that it's bullshit! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen." — Mila Kunis in an essay for A Plus on why she decided to start her own production company
25. "There's no excuse. There's no reason why [Jennifer Lawrence] should be doing a film with other actors and get 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." —Jessica Chastain, at the red carpet premiere of Crimson Peak, in reaction to Jennifer Lawrence's Lenny Letter piece
26. "Women are uncomfortable talking about money. I know it's taboo to discuss it at work. Technically, you shouldn't, but you need to know what people around you are making. Otherwise, you're not going to know what you're worth. You have to ask questions. 'What is this person getting?' Do your research. I've always been pretty competitive in terms of my pay." — Nicki Minaj, in the July 2015 issue of Cosmopolitan US
You Might Also Like