In the conversation regarding the pay gap and discrepancies of pay between men and women in many industries, Hollywood has become a huge example. But what many don’t understand is that, regardless of accolades and talent, the pay gap is even vastly disproportionate amongst women depending on race, size and other factors.
Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain learned that firsthand when having a conversation with friend Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer regarding how much more male counterparts get paid. While Spencer was in complete agreement with her friend, she brought up a point that Chastain wasn’t aware of. Spencer being a fuller figured black woman actually makes way less than Chastain on any given project.
They spoke numbers and found out that despite talents and critical acclaim, Spencer had been severely underpaid for years. Chastain was appalled and decided that she was going to do something about it. So Chastain did something that isn’t typically common in the industry. When discussing an upcoming project that she wanted Spencer to co-star in with her, Chastain tied their contracts together so, during the negotiating process, they were ensured to make the same amount.
Chastain championed for her friend who has been continuously underpaid in an industry that doesn’t necessarily have equity in neither gender or race. Chastain used her privilege in an immense way by letting her talented friend know that they did deserve equal amounts in their salaries and she fought hard to make that a reality. Chastain explained her rationale on Twitter a couple of days ago.
She had been underpaid for so long. When I discovered that , I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) January 24, 2018
If it’s a question about merit and worthiness, though both of the actresses are tremendously talented, Spencer is a three-time Oscar nominee with one win, while Chastain has two nominations but no wins.
It’s heartwarming to see someone who saw an inequality within a structure and did something to eradicate it. Chastain was an advocate for her talented friend who deserved to be paid equal to her female peers.