Pompeo punches back for equal pay

After years of being paid less than her male counterpart, actor Ellen Pompeo has finally secured the pay she deserves for playing the title character on the hit Shonda Rhimes-created show “Grey’s Anatomy.”

According to Mashable, Pompeo shared her struggle to speak up and ask for payment equal to that of her male co-star Patrick Dempsey in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. At one point in her 14-year tenure on the show, Pompeo asked to be paid even just $5,000 more than Dempsey, as she is the series’ main character; however, as Mashable reports, her request was denied.

“At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me,” she said. “And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, “I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.”

So how did Pompeo find the courage to ask again for the pay she deserved? Mashable says she in part found inspiration in Rhimes, who Pompeo said empowered her as the showrunner herself was “finding her power and becoming more comfortable with her power.”

Now the “highest-paid actress on a primetime drama series, with a contract earning her about $20 million a year,” Mashable says Pompeo not only believes in the power of asking for what she deserves, she also believes in the power of her own talents.

“I’m 48 now, so I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m OK asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age. Because I’m not the most “relevant” actress out there,” she told THR. “I know that’s the industry perception because I’ve been this character for 14 years. But the truth is, anybody can be good on a show season one and two. Can you be good 14 years later? Now, that’s a fuckin’ skill.”

To read the interview in its entirety, click here.

Iceland makes pay inequity illegal

2018 started off with a major change in Iceland.

According to ELLE, Iceland made it illegal to pay women less than men as of Jan. 1, 2018, becoming the first country in the world to “make equal pay the law.” As for the specifics of the law, ELLE reports that it mandates “companies that employ more than 25 people are obliged to obtain a government certificate showing their pay equality policies,” and if they don’t, they will be hit with a fine.

The move to create a more level playing field in the country follows their 2017 announcement of the legislation on International Women’s Day, says ELLE, following through on the year-old promise and asserting their position as a worldwide leader in gender equality.

But their efforts to create a more gender-equal society don’t end there: ELLE says the law is part of an effort to close the gender pay gap completely by 2022.

Former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson perhaps put it best at the Global Leaders’ Meeting in 2015 when he said, “Men cannot sit idly by when issues such as gender-based violence and the gender pay gap are being discussed. These are not only women’s issues. These are issues of general human rights.”

Streep seeking to end sexism in Hollywood

Sexism is everywhere: in corporate America, in schools and in sports. But according to Meryl Streep, it doesn’t have to exist in Hollywood any longer.

That’s why she’s teaming up with her fellow actors to change the culture in the movie capital of the world and forge a level playing field for all. Glamour reports that at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, Streep told Gloria Steinem that she’s working with other actresses to stamp out sexual harassment and lead the charge in creating an environment of equality.

“Right now I’m getting together with a bunch of actresses that you know very well, and we’re all sort of going to make a set of nonnegotiable demands,” she said. “We’re after 50-50 by 2020.”

Spurred to create change by the numerous allegations against former film producer Harvey WeinsteinGlamour says Streep sees him as the most egregious case of the sexism that exists in Hollywood and beyond.

“The thing about Harvey Weinstein is that he is sort of the most gargantuan example of a kind of disrespect that permeates every industry, every enterprise,” Streep said, according to Glamour. “I’m not sure why. I have a lot of theories — maybe it’s in response to the women’s movement. Maybe it’s in fear of the women movement. But these abuses are about dominance.”

And changing that notion of dominance starts with lifting more women into high-ranking positions of power, says Streep, who thinks that “it starts at the top, none of these shenanigans would have filtered down and been tolerated.”

Offering a suggestion for every industry, Glamour said Streep summed up her argument by urging employers — and white men in power — to hire beyond their own ‘type’ to increase not only the diversity of employees, but also diversity of thought.

“White hires white. A guy who wears his baseball cap backward hires a guy who wears his baseball cap backward,” she said. “So we have to encourage the people who are currently in power, who are of one gender, to open the door.”



Whittaker to earn same salary as ‘Doctor Who’ predecessor

With [white] women working full-time in the United States still only earning 80 percent of what their male counterparts make, achieving pay equity is still a work in progress. In fact, the American Association of University Women estimates that it will take until the year 2059 to achieve full pay parity. But to achieve this end, we must make small gains now to benefit all women in the future.

And for the newest Doctor on Doctor Who, a small step toward pay parity has been made. According to Glamour, BBC director Tony Hall confirmed that Jodie Whittaker — the first female Doctor on Doctor Who — will “receive the same pay for the show as her predecessor, Peter Capaldi.”

As for Whittaker and her newfound role, the actor is excited to be the first to break the mold on the popular show.

“It feels completely overwhelming,” she told BBC, “as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be.”

Oregon governor signs equal pay law

Oregon just took a major step to make equal pay a reality.

According to a news release published on the Oregon Business Report, Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Equal Pay Act of 2017, a law that aims to “address pay disparities among women, minorities and other protected classes.”

The release says that the new law blocks employers from “compensating certain protected classes” — which are defined by characteristics such as race, sex, marital status and disability, among other things — less than their co-workers for work “requiring substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.”

Furthermore, the law explains the circumstances in which pay is considered “lawful,” which includes instances in which pay differences are doles out based on merit, seniority, quality or quantity of work or experience level. The act even affects employers in the hiring process, outlawing the act of learning a candidate’s previous pay and setting their current pay at a rate equivalent to that of their previous or current position.

Let’s hope other states soon follow suit!

Iceland to require gender pay equality

Iceland is leading the way for women to achieve equal pay in the workplace.

According to Fortunethe country marked International Women’s Day by “becoming the first country in the world to require that businesses prove they offer equal pay to their employees.”

Mandatory for both public and private companies, Fortune says the law mandates that all companies that employ more than 25 staff members to secure a certificate that confirms their commitment to pay equity “‘regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or nationality.'”

With Iceland pioneering this move toward pay parity, let’s hope other countries begin to follow suit.

Rossum ‘shameless’ in renegotiating salary

From the sports realm to the world of Hollywood, the pay disparity is ever present and persistent. That’s why actress Emmy Rossum is taking matters into her own hands to get the equal pay she knows she deserves.

According to ELLE, the Shameless star is currently renegotiating her salary in order to make up for the deficit posed by the salary of male co-star William H. Macy. ELLE says that salaries are largely determined by star value, and when the show premiered, Macy was riding on his established Hollywood status and an Oscar nomination for Fargo while Rossum wasn’t as well known — and, lest we forget, also a woman.

The show’s breakout star, ELLE says Rossum’s salary renegotiation held production of the series’ eighth season — though The Hollywood Reporter reported that Warner Bros. Television and Rossum were able to agree to a new contract.

So fans, season 8 is coming, and the actress who brings to life everyone’s favorite Fiona Gallagher may have just scored a win in the fight for pay equity.

Senate joins fight for equal pay

Five members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team filed a complaint in March accusing U.S. Soccer of wage discrimination and arguing that male Major League Soccer players make significantly more than they do. While they have yet to achieve equal pay for their talents, the United States Senate has joined the fight in securing their rights.

According to the Huffington Post, the Senate “unanimously approved a non-binding resolution calling on the U.S. Soccer Federation to ‘immediately end gender pay inequity and to treat all athletes with the respect and dignity those athletes deserve'” on Thursday, May 26.

Introduced earlier this month by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and 21 other Democrats, the resolution to remedy the pay disparity was brought up for discussion this week when Murray gave a speech on the team before the Senate, says the Huffington Post.

Mentioning the USWNT’s third World Cup win and three Olympic gold medals, Murray said, “But despite all of these tremendous successes, these players do not get paid on par with their male counterparts.”

“This isn’t just about the money. It’s also about the message it sends to women and girls across our country and the world,” the senator offered, later calling their struggle “emblematic of what is happening all across our country,” referencing the ever-present pay gap that persists across a multitude of professions.

The Huffington Post says that although the resolution, which “only applies public pressure on the soccer governing body,” passed without objection, Murray and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) hope that this small step will lead to further action taken to address the broader pay problem.

After the resolution’s approval, Murray expressed her pride over its adoption, calling it a show of support for women around the country. But Murray’s work is far from over; she hopes that this victory can help garner the approval of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to remedy wage discrimination based on gender.

“Now, let’s back it up with action by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act!,” she said after the resolution’s approval. “I am going to keep fighting for this legislation, so I urge all my colleagues to put partisanship aside, once again, and work to get this done.”

Equal pay the ‘Wright’ way

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.

Minaj means business

Being named to TIME Magazine‘s list of the 100 most influential people is nothing short of a big deal. And when Nicki Minaj earned a spot of the elite list, she used her platform to make a statement on equal pay.

According to The Huffington Post, Minaj told the magazine that working in the music industry thus far has taught her a lot about how to command the respect she deserves. “One thing I learned along the way in business,” she said in the interview, “is the necessity to be unapologetic about asking for how much money you deserve.”

But don’t think she has only recently become interested in attaining equal pay; instead, the rap star has always been a proponent of the cause.

“At a very early stage in my rap career, I was making six figures for shows,” she said. “If I heard there was another rapper making that, I thought, ‘you know what? I get out there and demand or command a crowd. I get out there and make my fans happy. I get out there and give a real show. I want that, too.’ And I pushed myself to be better with my showmanship, but I also decided, you know what? I want to be compensated well.”

While Minaj has never been shy about speaking up for herself in business negotiations, she believes many women are often hesitant about advocating on their own behalf.

“I think women have the tendency to feel that they shouldn’t ask to be compensated as much as a man doing the same exact thing,” she told TIME.

But, she said, this shouldn’t hold women back: “If you know you’re great at what you do, don’t ever be ashamed to ask for the top dollar in your field.”