The gender wage gap in Hollywood has become a major public dialogue in recent years, with several actresses opening up about getting paid significantly less than their male costars. Now, celebrities are trying to raise awareness of the pay disparity happening behind the scenes, and many of our favorites—like Sterling K. Brown and Ava DuVernay—have signed an open letter demanding equal pay for women who work in film production.
HuffPost reported that on August 25th, the group Reel Equity published the letter, which was signed by dozens of A-list filmmakers and actors, including DuVernay, Brown, Jane Fonda, Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz, John C. Reilly, and Aisha Tyler. According to the Los Angeles Times, the effort was also supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and Women in Film. More than 3,000 people in total signed the letter.
The letter referenced a January 2018 study which found that female-dominated production roles, like script supervisors, art department coordinators, and production coordinators, were paid “hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than counterparts in male-dominated crafts.” The study also found that 52% of surveyed women in production roles had witnessed or experienced sexual harassment at work in the past three years.
As a result of these findings, the letter calls for the industry to conduct a study on the wage gap in production incomes, to work to ensure pay parity across departments, and to encourage talent and directors to request equity riders.
Of course, the gender wage gap is a huge issue for women in all industries, but we’re glad that the thousands of women working behind-the-scenes in the entertainment industry are finally becoming part of this much-needed dialogue. If you want to help, you can visit ReelEquity.org to learn what you can do (and even sign the open letter yourself).