Let’s talk about pay inequality and the justification for it (there is none).
Michelle Williams’ Reshoot Salary
So this is probably the 3rd or 4th time I’ve groaned at my computer screen today, seeing the news that actress Michelle Williams was paid inordinately less than Mark Wahlberg for her work and time reshooting scenes for the film All the Money in the World. This could be kind of funny, considering the title of the film. But it’s the tired kind of funny, like we’ve heard this joke a million times before and it’s not a joke to begin with. Pay inequality based on race and gender exists and in some industries and locations it’s huge.
Let’s look at a few examples. In this instance, Michelle Williams was reportedly paid less than $1,000 for her work reshooting a film while her male costar was paid $1.5million. He was paid 1500x more than she was.
Hoda Kotb’s NBC Deal
Ok. Also in the entertainment industry we currently have the issue of Matt Lauer (and his salary) which was last reported at $20million a year. Hoda Kotb has been hired as the new co-anchor of the Today Show replacing Lauer. Kotb’s deal is reportedly $7million a year. He was paid $13million more a year than she was. Now, I understand many people are saying that in this case of the Lauer vs Kotb’s salaries that Kotb needs to put in her time at NBC and then she’ll really start making the big bucks. Kotb is currently 53 years old, she landed her first on air job in 1986 right after graduating from Virginia Tech and has been highly successful in the industry since (like Emmy awards successful). She first began working for NBC in 1998 – that’s 20 years ago now. Does she really need a trial period to earn that higher salary?
Both of these examples of pay inequality use huge salaries and very public figures. Still, they do highlight an inequality that women of a number of industries in our country face. The National Women’s Law Center has put together a convenient and very sad map that shows us pay inequality in the US by state. It also has a drop down menu from which you can see how pay inequality is further divided by race.
Check it out: https://nwlc.org/resources/wage-gap-state-state/
We have a lot of work to do.
Justification for Pay Inequality Based on Gender & Race
There is none. Over and over again in articles reporting pay inequality I see attribution to ‘negotiation skills’ or ‘maybe she simply didn’t ask for more’ or that since women take time off for children it skews the overall numbers because then her raise/promotion track will be… Quite simply, women are paid less because the payers can and have gotten away with it.
In case you missed it, there were some loud moments at the Golden Globes. Debra Messing called out E! for not paying their male and female cohosts equally (Catt Sadler’s male cohost reportedly made almost double Sadler’s salary).
Natalie Portman had a solid one-liner while introducing the nominees for best director, introducing them as the “all-male nominees” because they were just that. All male.
And there was a phenomenal showing of support for the Time’s Up movement. A movement with a fantastic mission and quite a ring to its name…