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Winfrey is a longtime champion of equal pay — even when doing so could have cost the star her job as TV’s most iconic daytime talk show host. In TIME Firsts, the 63-year-old opens up about fighting to close the wage gap for female staffers working on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
“I built this show around myself and the producers. We were young women in our 30s trying to figure it out and find our own way,” Winfrey said. “I was making a lot of money, and my producers were still getting the same salary. I went to my boss at the time and I said, ‘Everybody needs a raise.’ And he said, ‘Why?’ ”
She continued: “He actually said to me, ‘They’re only girls. They’re a bunch of girls. What do they need more money for?’ I go, ‘Well, either they’re gonna get raises, or I’m gonna sit down. I will not work unless they get paid.’ And so they did.”
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After learning how much Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock were getting paid for their Netflix standup specials, the Snatched star asked for a pay bump for her "The Leather Special," which was released on the streaming service. However, Schumer took to Instagram to clarify her salary renegotiation, sharing that she doesn't feel she's deserving of her colleagues' exact salaries just yet. "I believe women deserve equal pay. However I don’t believe I deserve equal pay to Chris and Dave,” she wrote on Instagram, adding: “I didn’t ask for the same as my friends. I did ask for more than the initial offer. I will continue to work my ass off and be the best performer I can be. The reports of me ‘demanding’ or ‘insisting’ on equal pay to them aren’t true.”
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In a candid interview with Out Magazine, the Oscar winner spoke out about the gender pay gap in the film industry, and how some of her male costars have willingly helped bridge the gap. "In my career so far, I've needed my male costars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them," she said. "And that's something they do for me because they feel it’s what's right and fair."
She continued: "If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life."
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Despite having a buzzy career that boasts a hit TV show (Quantico) and a highly anticipated movie reboot (Baywatch), Chopra is not exempt from getting paid "a lot less than the boys" in Hollywood. "It's a scary place," the actress told Glamour. "You will be rejected. I was rejected many times. I cried. I was told that female actors are replaceable in films because they just stand behind a guy anyway."
"I'm still used to being paid — like most actresses around the world — a lot less than the boys," she continued. "We're told we're too provocative or that being sexy is our strength, which it can be, and it is, but that's not the only thing we have."
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After it was revealed in the 2014 Sony hack that Lawrence had earned less money than her male American Hustle costars, she reflected on why she hadn't fought for more money in a pointed essay for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter.
"I would be lying if I didn't say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight," she wrote. "I didn't want to seem 'difficult' or 'spoiled.' At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn't worry about being difficult or spoiled."
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"There's no excuse," Chastain told Variety in response to Lawrence's essay. "There's no reason why [an actress such as Lawrence] should be doing a film with other actors and get paid less than her male costars. It's completely unfair. It's not right. It's been happening for years and years and years. I think it's brave to talk about it. I think everyone should talk about it."
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Portman recently revealed that she'd been paid one-third of what her costar Ashton Kutcher made for 2011's No Strings Attached. “Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar,” Portman explained. “In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”
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The actress sees the issue of wage inequality as "bigger than money" — it's a whole system of discrimination. "I know we're focused on the money part right now. That's just a by-product," Bullock told Variety. "I keep saying, 'Why is it that no one is standing up and saying you can't say that about a woman?' We're mocked and judged in the media and articles. Really, how men are described in articles versus women, there's a big difference. I always make a joke: 'Watch, we're going to walk down the red carpet, I'm going to be asked about my dress and my hair while the man standing next to me will be asked about his performance and political issues.' "
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In the actress's Allure cover story, she lamented the wage gap in Hollywood, but also for women in all industries. "That's what is so great about what Emma Watson is doing," Adams said of the star's HeforShe initiative. "She's not talking about actresses; she's talking about women all over the world."
Adams also opened up about her own experience with receiving less than her male colleagues. "I wasn't comfortable [talking about it] because I don't feel bad for myself as an actress," she said. "I feel really fortunate. I started doing research, and it was striking how women don't feel comfortable negotiating for raises."
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Co-captain of the United States women's national team — and author of a forthcoming memoir, When Nobody Was Watching — the two-time Olympic gold medal winner wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on joining four teammates in filing a safe-discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer in March. "If I were a male soccer player who won a World Cup for the United States, my bonus would be $390,000. Because I am a female soccer player, the bonus I got for our World Cup victory last summer was $75,000," she wrote.
"I understand that the men's World Cup generates vastly more money globally than the women's event, but the simple truth is that U.S. Soccer projects that our team will generate a profit of $5.2 million in 2017 while the men are forecast to lose almost $1 million. Yet we get shortchanged coming and going."
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Hendricks is best known for playing a 1960s working woman in an office oozing with sexism. This fact made the Mad Men actress' gender equality PSA for Funny or Die all the more fitting. In the clip, Hendricks goes to work in a "modern office," but still retains the professional sensibilities her character, Joan, picked up in the '60s, including smoking and drinking at work, using a typewriter and being completely lost when it comes to today's technology.
When a "colleague" expresses confusion at her outdated actions, she says that if she's going to work in a world that pays women like it's the 1960s, she's going to act like it, too. Hendricks owns the scene, as usual.
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The Boyhood actress deviated from the typical path of a gratitude-filled Oscar acceptance by using the tail end of her speech to advocate for wage equality.
"To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights," she said. "It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."
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We can't imagine Olivia Pope would ever accept being paid a lesser salary than a male colleague — and it appears her offscreen counterpart feels the same way. Washington tweeted in favor of Equal Pay Day as part of Levo League's #Ask4More campaign.
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The HeForShe founder is a stringent supporter of gender equality across all facets of life. In 2014, she gave a rousing speech at the United Nations to launch her gender equality initiative, speaking out about the demonization of the word "feminist," the responsibility of both sexes to solve gender inequality and, of course, the importance of equal pay.
"I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts," she said. "I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men."
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Theron has proven herself to be an advocate for equal pay — not just with her words, but through her actions, too. Following the Sony hack, where details about her salary for the film Snow White and the Huntsman were released, the New York Post's Page Six uncovered that Theron had negotiated her pay to be closer to that of her male costar, Chris Hemsworth. It was a win not only for the actress, but for gender equality overall. Her negotiation tactics worked, and Theron received increased pay as a result.
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If you've listened to Beyoncé's tune "***Flawless," in which she samples sound bites from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's speech "We Should All Be Feminists," you know that the icon is all about gender equality. Perhaps less known than her musical activism, however, is Beyoncé's essay, "Gender Equality Is a Myth," in which she discusses the dismal state of gender equality today in The Shriver Report.
"Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes," she wrote. "But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters earn more — commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”
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During a sit-down with Levo League, Silverman shared a personal experience with wage equality, in which she was paid $10 for a 15-minute stand-up comedy performance. After leaving the theater, she discovered men who did the exact same job made significantly more money than she did: $60.
"I'm all for women having to work harder to prove themselves at this juncture, if that's the way it is in the world," she said. "But if you work a job, and a man is working the same job, you should be getting paid the same."
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CHLOË GRACE MORETZ
She may be young, but Moretz, 20, is already standing up for equal pay. In recognition of Equal Pay Day, the actress tweeted a photo of her hand holding 78 cents – the amount a woman makes today for every man's dollar.
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Poehler has long considered herself a feminist, even apologizing after Taylor Swift called her and Tina Fey out for what she called an anti-female joke. Poehler spoke out again on Equal Pay Day, this time, to encourage women to ask for the salaries they deserve. “It is not overreacting to ask for what you want and need," she said.