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.”