Jennifer Lawrence gives up on finding an 'adorable' way to fight wage gap

Jennifer Lawrence, the Academy-Award winning actress, takes on the gender wage-gap fight in a new opinion piece.

Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP/File
In this May 17, 2014 file photo, Jennifer Lawrence appears at the "Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" party at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France.

Jennifer Lawrence is an Academy-Award winning actress. She’s starred in movies like "American Hustle" and "The Hunger Games."

But she was paid less for those roles than her male costars, a new batch of leaked Sony emails reveals. The hacks disclose that the back-end compensation for the male stars of "American Hustle" was close to nine percent, while Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams only earned seven percent.

Andrew Gumpert, a Columbia Pictures executive who was writing to Sony regarding the pay gap, noted that the differences in pay were “unfair” but offered no concrete solutions.

Rather than remaining silent, Jennifer Lawrence decided to write an opinion piece for Lena Dunham’s newsletter Lenny regarding this injustice.

“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than [my male co-stars], I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early,” she writes, commenting that at the time, her desire to be likable overwhelmed her desire to “close the deal” and be paid what she was worth.

Lawrence’s experience is not unique within the movie industry. At the 2015 Oscars, Patricia Arquette used the opportunity of accepting the Best Supporting Actress award for "Boyhood" to comment, “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Then, in June of this year, Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep petitioned members of Congress to revive support for the Equal Rights Amendment, which, among many provisions, would guarantee equal pay for women in the workplace.

In the letter that she submitted to Congress, Ms. Streep wrote, “I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality – for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself – by actively supporting the Equal Rights Amendment… A whole new generation of women and girls are talking about equality – equal pay, equal protection from sexual assault, equal rights."

Nor is the pay gap is not unique to the movie industry. In 2013, women earned 78 percent of what men earned, and those limits also extended to benefits: Only 35 percent of women were insured through their employers, compared to 44 percent of men who had an offer of health insurance through their companies.      

“I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard,” Ms. Lawrence wrote. “Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.