These Celebrities Stood Up Against the Gender Pay Gap

While Hollywood and fame may seem like a dream to some, that doesn’t mean its infallible to the stereotypes and sexism that the rest of the world sees. Often citing a need to be liked as excuse for accepting lower pay in the past, many Hollywood actresses submit to lower wages in comparison to their male counterparts simply from a place of need – they need the job. Though in the past the notion of pay has been swept under the rug as something shameful and taboo, recent years have seen a rise in acknowledging just how wide the gap has become between the genders. The movement has picked up across a range of names, however, these celebrities have become synonymous with the movement for equal pay for equal work.

9 Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock stands against more than just the gender pay gap. The Our Brand is Crisis actress has time and time openly acknowledged the blatant sexism of Hollywood and called for times to change. In discussing the pay disparity between men and women in the industry, Bullock has stated that the pay gap exists as part of a larger issue – in order to see a change in wages, the world needs to shift perceptions of women as being less than men in general.


8 Emmy Rossum

In 2018, Shameless star Emmy Rossum took a stand for herself and stepped down from the show she dearly loved in a matter of principle. As a leading figure on the show, Rossum believed that after seven seasons of lower pay than co-star William H. Macy, she deserved a bump. After being denied her request for a larger paycheck than Macy (to make up for the lost years), she finally settled with the network, coming back for a new season with more gusto than ever.

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7 Emma Watson

Since emerging from her Harry Potter days, Emma Watson has come into her own as an advocate for women’s rights on every level. Using her name and status to do her part, Watson gained notoriety in the topic of the gender pay gap during her 2014 speech at the United Nations calling for equal pay, rights, and respect for women in all industries. Now a UN Global Goodwill Ambassador, Watson stands behind her organization, HeForShe, using every platform to raise the issue and bring it back to the public eye.

6 Benedict Cumberbatch

While many men have spoken on the issues surrounding gender pay disparities, few have actually taken a stance to call for change. In 2018, Marvel star Benedict Cumberbatch announced that he would be refusing any future projects in which female co-stars were offered less than their male counterparts. Following his call to action, the Doctor Strange actor urged others in the industry to follow his lead and reject films that furthered and supported the pay gap.

Related: Here Are The Salaries Of The Cast Of ‘A Million Little Things’

5 Emma Stone

Surrounding the filming and release of Battle of the Sexes, Emma Stone’s publicity tour shone a spotlight not only on the film itself but also on the larger issue theme of the film seen throughout society – widespread sexism. Stone openly spoke about experiencing disrespect and sexism while filming. Referring to the matter of pay, she noted how when working with men who come in with a higher quote or standard rate, she asks that they take a cut so she can match them to increase her own quote in future projects. While not naming names, she acknowledges that many men have willingly taken the cut to make things right.

4 Patricia Arquette

One of the more public stances toward fair pay came from Patricia Arquette using the platform she’d been given in 2015 – an Oscar acceptance speech. In winning Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood, the actress used her character as a prime example, stating that the single mother would’ve lived a very different life had her pay been for the full dollar deserved. Since her speech, she has joined forces with UN Women to catapult initiatives surrounding economic empowerment.

Related: The Female Stars Wouldn’t Take A Pay Cut, So ‘The First Wives Club’ Never Got A Sequel

3 Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams may be an iconic figure for her portrayals ranging from Anne Weying in Venom to Ms. Marilyn Monroe herself in My Week with Marilyn, but her champion status doesn’t solely stem from fictional portrayals. After the reveal that Williams made less than $1,000 for re-shoots of All The Money in the World in comparison to Mark Wahlberg’s $1.5 million, the actress took a stand against the blatant sexism by taking the fight to Capitol Hill. An open advocate for equal pay, Williams cites Jessica Chastain as her inspiration for taking up the mantel and moving forward with the cause.

2 Jennifer Lawrence

One of the first to speak up surrounding the topic of sexism and pay disparities in the film industry, Jennifer Lawrence took to writing and publishing an essay surrounding her treatment in Hollywood and calling out the lesser wages. Titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male CoStars,” the essay made waves online, calling out the industry’s clear pay gap and the discomfort and insecurity that surround fighting for higher pay.

1 Jessica Chastain

Chastain tops this listing for her constant support of fair pay for female actors. A long-time advocate for equal pay, Chastain doesn’t just speak about how to change the wage gap but makes a conscious effort to draw attention to it and actually make things happen. From negotiating five times the original pay for herself and Octavia Spencer to ensuring the five lead actresses of her thriller 355 received equal wages for their work, this actress doesn’t just talk, she follows through with her actions.

Next: 5 Actors Who Took A Pay Cut For A Role (And 10 Who Fought For More Money)

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