Actress Jessica Chastain has joined the fight for equal pay, speaking out about the discrepancies between her and her male co-stars.
Speaking to Variety, Chastain said she doesn’t take jobs where she isn’t paid the same as her male colleagues.
She said, “I’m not taking jobs any more where I’m getting paid a quarter of what the male co-star is being paid.”
“I’m not allowing that in my life…I ask what they’re offering me in comparison to the guy.”
“I don’t care about how much I get paid – I’m in an industry where we’re overcompensated for the work we do.”
“But I don’t want to be on a set where I’m doing the same work as someone else and they’re getting five times what I’m getting.”
“In the past, what I used to do – this is terrible – a movie would come to me with an offer.”
“They wouldn’t want me to do my deal until they cast the male actor.”
“They would wait and see what they had left over, even if they’d come to me first.”
“And so I stopped doing that.”
“Now, if someone comes to me and has an offer but wants to wait, I’m like “Goodbye.”
“If you want me in your film, do a favoured-nation clause.”
“Don’t determine my worth based on what’s left over.”
She continued, “There was something huge that I recently turned down.”
“For me, it wasn’t about the money; it was an old-fashioned problem of the wage gap. I turned it down, and they didn’t come back.”
“I remember afterwards I was like, “What did I do? Maybe it was a mistake.”
“But it wasn’t, because everyone in the studio system heard what I did.”
“So what you’re doing is creating a reputation: Don’t bring Jessica something where she’s not being fairly compensated compared to the male actor.”
“Even though I lost that film, I’ve created a boundary.”
“I drew a line in the sand.”
“The power of “no” means you’re educating people in how to treat you.”
The actress is a self-confessed feminist and has spoken out against the discrimination faced by women and minorities in Hollywood. In 2015, she wrote an opinion piece for The Hollywood Reporter on gender imbalance within the industry and in 2016, she became an advisory board member for We Do It Together, which produces films and television shows to promote the empowerment of women.
Chastain has joined a number of high profile actresses who have spoken out about equal pay and gender equality in Hollywood.
Amongst others, Jennifer Lawrence, Patricia Arquette and Natalie Portman have all spoken out about unequal pay within the industry. In March, Anne Hathaway also joined the conversation, saying, “Hollywood is not a place of equality.”
Actresses are also beginning to call out the apparent sexism and ageism within the industry. Emma Thompson has been vocal saying, “I think that, for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young. So no, I am not impressed, at all.”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, 37, also shocked with the revelation that she was not given an acting role as she was deemed to old to play a 55-yea-old’s girlfriend. Dame Helen Mirren also weighed in on the ageism argument saying, “We all watched James Bond as he got more and more geriatric, and his girlfriends got younger and younger. It’s so annoying.”