British actress Sienna Miller turned down a role in a Broadway production because she learned she was offered significantly less than her male co-star was offered.
In an interview with Vogue, Miller said, “It was a play with just two of us on stage and I was offered less than half of what he was going to be paid. If it was two men, it wouldn’t probably happen. Sad, but I walked away.”
Miller hasn’t revealed the name of the production, but the actress is well-known for her roles in a slew of successful films and has starred in other theater projects as well.
It’s no secret that sexism is rampant in Hollywood on a variety of levels, and the issue of unequal pay among some of the most prominent female actors has been gaining more attention. After Charlize Theron discovered she was making $10 million less than her co-star Chris Hemsworth, she demanded and negotiated a raise. Recently, headliners Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin announced they received less than their male counterparts, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson, on the new show Gracie and Frankie.
Patricia Arquette made an impassioned plea at the 2015 Academy Awards for equal pay in her acceptance speech and mentioned that woman are not yet recognized as equals in the U.S. Constitution.
A special note to keep in mind to those who might say “Oh, famous actresses make so much money, they should shut up and be happy for their huge salaries,”: Women in the workforce face pay discrimination every single day. High profile female celebrities deserve to earn as much as their male co-stars, and using their position to shine a light on the issue of gender pay inequality is something to be applauded rather than criticized. They help call attention to this unfair practice on the national stage.
With more and more women and entertainers becoming vocal about the gender pay gap, we might finally see some action in removing the congressionally imposed deadline to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). It’s going to take loud voices, and more and more Americans must demand ratification. We can do it. We have to do it – because there’s no guarantee of equal pay without the ERA!