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April 2 is celebrated as Equal Pay Day, symbolizing how far into the year women have to work to make as much as men did the year before

By Helen Murphy
April 03, 2019 02:10 PM
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According to a new survey, nearly half of men believe that the disparity in pay between themselves and women is “made up.”

The survey was first published by TIME magazine on Tuesday, April 2, also known as Equal Pay Day 2019. Equal Pay Day — which is celebrated in the United States annually — represents how far into the new year women have to work to make as much money as men did in the previous year.

However, the new survey shows that not everyone believes that the pay gap exists. According to the online poll — which surveyed 8,566 American adults in March — 46 percent of men believe the pay gap “is made up to serve a political purpose.”

When expanded to both genders, that drops to 38 percent — or about four in 10 Americans who believe the pay disparity is made up.

Meanwhile, 21 percent of men believe that reports on the wage gap in the media are “fake news,” and 31 percent believe they are “overblown.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on average, women make 81 cents for every dollar that a man makes, and women of color make even less.

Overall in the survey, 62 percent of Americans said that they believe that men make more money than women for the same amount of work — down from polls over the last two years, the survey notes. Men and younger Americans are the most likely to believe that the wage gap is inaccurate.

The results weren’t all negative, however: 73 percent of Americans think companies should do more to reduce the wage gap, and 62 percent believe the gap will be eliminated during their lifetime.

On Tuesday, actress Michelle Williams spoke out about the pay disparity she experienced while working with Mark Wahlberg on film All the Money in the World.

The four-time Oscar nominee, 38, spoke on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, while advocating for House Democratic legislation that would close the gender pay gap.

Williams joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus to mark Equal Pay Day as she recounted discovering Wahlberg, 47, had made $1.5 million compared to her paycheck of less than $1,000 for reshoots on the Ridley Scott film.

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Michelle Williams; Mark Wahlberg
| Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Gabriel Grams/FilmMagic

The actress said she was “paralyzed in feelings of futility” after learning of the pay disparity.

“I’ve been a working actress since the age of 12. I’ve been accredited by my industry at the highest levels and that still didn’t translate to equal compensation. Months passed and the actress Jessica Chastain, with whom I had in fact played sisters, offered to take my story to her Twitter,” Williams said.

She added, “Jessica’s audience was much wider than mine and she wasn’t afraid to pick up a megaphone and be heard. Heard she was, there was an uproar and a public shaming within my industry that resulted in a $2 million donation to the Time’s Up Defense Fund.”

Williams added that things had changed since her pay gap story came out: “On the job I just completed two weeks ago, I have to tell you, I was paid equally with my male costar.”