The struggle for women to achieve equal pay is not immune to one profession, and it’s certainly not barred from Hollywood, either — that’s what House of Cards’ Robin Wright proved recently.
According to The Huffington Post, Wright spoke at the Rockefeller Foundation on Tuesday, May 17, and in the midst of discussing a host of other topics with foundation president Judith Rodin, the actress mentioned her recent salary negotiation in which she argued to be paid the same as co-star Kevin Spacey.
“I was like, ‘I want to be paid the same as Kevin,'” Wright said. The 50-year-old actress not only plays Claire Underwood on the successful Netflix series, she also is a producer and part-time director for the show, according to The Huffington Post.
Speaking generally on the gender wage gap, Wright mentioned the inherent equality portrayed in House of Cards: “It was the perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in ‘House of Cards.'”
Then came her decision to pursue an equal salary to Spacey. “I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time,” she said. “So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public. And they did.”
The Huffington Post says that Spacey reportedly earned $500,000 per episode in 2014, while it was speculated at the time that his pay may double, making him “one of the highest-earning TV or streaming actors.” In 2015, Forbes reported that Wright made a potential $420,000 per episode, amounting to $5.5 million, according to The Huffington Post.
Beyond Hollywood and House of Cards, the issue of the pay gap only grows more dismal. As of 2014, the National Committee on Pay Equity says that women only make 79 percent of men’s earnings; with the gap at an all-time low in 1973 with women earning 57 cents on men’s dollar, the gap has only seen a 39-percent growth in the past 54 years shown by the data.
However, now that Wright secured a paycheck comparable to that of her co-star, the actress may be seeing a significant pay increase. But no matter the amount, Wright fought — and won — a fight for pay equality that has long existed and will likely continue to exist for years to come.