Women Behind The Camera Make Less. A New Open Letter Backed By Big Stars Wants To Change That.


Just in time for Sunday’s Women’s Equality Day, dozens of Hollywood stars and organizations signed an open letter calling for equal pay among women in film and television production. 

The letter, published by the group Reel Equity, cites a recent study by Working IDEAL, commissioned by the union IATSE Local 871, which found that workers in historically female fields in the entertainment industry — such as script supervisors, production coordinators, and art department coordinators — “are paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars per week less than counterparts in comparable male-dominated crafts.”

Additionally, more than half of the women responding to the survey said they had witnessed or experienced sexual harassment over the past three years, with 13 percent saying it happened “often.” As Reel Equity’s letter explains, this “shines a light on the deep connection between the gender pay gap and other forms of workplace injustice facing women in Hollywood and beyond.”

The letter also mentions the California Pay Act of 2016, which prohibits employers from paying women less than men for “substantially similar work.” Nevertheless, the aforementioned gap still exists.

“It is time for real change,” the letter reads, demanding that the entertainment industry “make sure all productions meet the legal — and moral — requirement to pay fairly without discrimination.”

It goes on to encourage a “comprehensive study of gender disparities in wages,” as well as the implementation of an “Equity Yardstick” to ensure fair compensation, and the use of “equity riders” (similar to inclusion riders, which call for diverse hiring) to demand equal pay on productions.

The letter currently has more than 3,000 signatures, with a goal of 6,400. Stars who have added their names include Ava DuVernay, Jane Fonda, Don Cheadle, Wanda Sykes, Martin Sheen, and This Is Us stars Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Mandy Moore. Organizations such as the ACLU, the National Women’s Law Center, and Women in Film also endorsed the message.

You can sign the letter yourself here.


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