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.”

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!