The Hollywood pay gap has been the focal point of a number of news stories over the past few months as it seems that regardless of how much equality pushes the women of the world forward, there will always be something that prevents the world from seeing everyone as equal. The gender pay gap is something that affects all industries across the US even though it seems that actresses are the ones who are getting the most attention since their profession means that they spend their entire career in the spotlight. Some of the biggest actresses in the world including Meryl Streep and Viola Davis have spoken out about the fact that they earned much less than their male counterparts, despite being employed to do the same job.
It seems that this has happened a number of times to many of the women in the acting business, so much so that the highest paid actress in the world back in 2015 was Jennifer Lawrence and she was paid almost $30 million less than the highest paid actor in the world at that time, which was Robert Downey Jr. This fact alone shows the difference in the pay scale between men and women at the top of one of the richest industries in the world. The following list looks at Michelle Williams and 15 other women who have been paid much less than their male co-stars when they have been part of the same movie and sometimes were given much bigger roles.
16 Sienna Miller Was Offered Less Than Half Of Her Male Co-Star's Pay For A Broadway Show
It seems that the pay gap isn't limited to movies or any on-screen roles; it happens on stage as well. Sienna Miller is one of the best-known female actresses in the world. Back in 2015, the actress revealed that she turned down a role in a two-person Broadway show when she was offered less than half of her male co-star's salary even though both of the parts were practically identical.
Sienna is another female star who refused to work for much less than her male co-star and she has joined a number of other women who have recently spoken out about the fact that women haven't been treated fairly on and off screen when it comes to their pay over the past few decades. It will be interesting if these comments will lead to any kind of change throughout the business in the next few years.
15 Daisy Ridley Was The Lead Star In The Force Awakens But She Did Not Earn The Most
Daisy Ridley portrayed the main character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens back in 2015. The actress had only appeared in short films and minor TV roles in her career until she was cast as Rey in the movie franchise. Even though Daisy was in the lead role of the movie, it is reported that the star earned a fraction of her co-star Harrison Ford.
Ford has become a huge star because of his role as Indiana Jones and Han Solo in the original Star-Wars trilogy, which could be why he earned 50 times more than the woman that he shared the screen with throughout the movie. Daisy was just 23 at the time and wasn't as big a star so it was expected that she would earn less, but 50 times less is absolutely shocking for the female lead of one of the biggest franchises in the world, and it's a surprise that Daisy hasn't spoken out about it, even though she has continued to star in the franchise.
14 Jessica Chastain Earned A Quarter Of What She Expected For The Martian
Jessica Chastain has been around the acting world ever since 2004 but after a decade in the business, she got her big break when she landed the main role alongside Matt Damon in 2015 science fiction film The Martian. Even though Jessica's salary was reported to be quite high, she said in a number of interviews that she actually earned less than a quarter of what the press reported she made for being part of the movie.
This means that Jessica actually earned less than $2 million dollars for the movie despite the fact that she a major star, while her co-star Matt Damon earned ten times this since it is reported that he was paid around $20 million. While Damon was the main promotional face for the movie and appeared on the poster but that still doesn't justify the huge gap in their pay scale.
13 Hilary Swank Has Earned Less Than Her Male Co-Star For Multiple Movies
Hilary Swank is perhaps well-known for her role in Million Dollar Baby a few years ago, but it seems that even Hilary hasn't been given equal pay over the past few years either. Swank admitted in a number of interviews that there were times throughout her career that she would be paid 10 times less than her male co-stars.
The actress admitted, "My male counterpart will get paid 10 times more than me, 10 times. Not double, but 10 times for the same job. We only have this much left for the female actress. I mean, there are two genders on this Earth. Both are compelling, interesting, diverse, wonderful in all their own separate ways. And yet there's an influx of male roles and there's just not for women." Swank has had a number of high profile roles throughout her career, so it's hard to imagine which film she was talking about here.
12 Amy Adams Earned Less Than Bradley Cooper And Christian Bale For American Hustle
Amy Adams starred alongside the likes of Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in American Hustle, but it seems that even though Adams had a huge role in the movie, she still earned less than her male counterparts.
Amy stated that she was aware of how much less she was earning when she accepted the role, but this didn't stop her from signing on the dotted line. Amy didn't speak up about it but stated that she hired people to negotiate the contract for her and sometimes it is much less than the men who are also part of the movie; she just has to decide whether or not she thinks it's worth it. She is just one woman in the world of acting who decided that it wasn't worth speaking up about the apparent pay gap. It is unknown exactly how much less Amy earned for her role in the movie.
11 Even The Legendary Meryl Steep Has Earned Less Than The Male Leads For Numerous Roles
It's hard to believe that there is a star out there who is considered to be bigger or have more pulling power than the legend that is Meryl Streep, but even she spoke out about the fact that she has been paid less than her male co-stars in a number of movies that she has been part of over the past few decades.
Meryl chose the perfect platform as part of the premiere of The Suffragette where she stated that the landscape needed to change. Meryl has landed a number of huge roles throughout her career but wasn't specific when it came to the actual roles that she was part of where her pay was a fraction of the male stars who were also involved. Hopefully, a legend like Meryl speaking out means that something could change in the future to make the business better for the women involved.
10 Charlize Theron Was The Star Of The Huntsman: Winter's War, But Wasn't Paid As Such
Charlize Theron has been a consistent face on screen over the past few decades and was the star of the likes of Monster, The Devil's Advocate, and The Italian Job but it seems that when she landed the role in The Huntsman: Winter's War back in 2016, she later found out that she would be receiving a paycheque that was $10 million less than her co-star Chris Hemsworth and wasn't impressed.
It seems that Charlize wasn't happy when she found out that she was being paid much less than her co-star so she then demanded a raise and even managed to secure it before her role in the prequel to Snow White And The Huntsman, which was released the year before. Theron wasn't going to stand for being paid less and she made sure that when she was paid, it would be equal.
9 Amanda Seyfried Was The Lead In Mamma Mia But Didn't Earn The Most
Amanda Seyfried starred in a number of box office movies a few years ago including Dear John, Les Misérables and Letters To Juliet, but it seems that when she was cast in Mamma Mia alongside the likes of Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth back in 2008, she earned a fraction of her male co-stars.
Amanda spoke to The Sunday Times about the fact that she earned 10% less than her male co-stars and even stated that they were on an even keel when it came to how big a star they were at the time. She revealed, “I think people think that just because I’m easy-going and game to do things I’ll just take as little as they offer. It’s not about how much you get, it’s about how fair it is." Luckily it seems that Amanda's fortunes have changed since.
8 Natalie Portman Earned Less Than Ashton Kutcher For No Strings Attached
Natalie Portman has become a well-known star in her own right over the past few years after being part of films like Thor and V for Vendetta, but it seems that she is another victim of the Hollywood pay gap, since it was reported that Natalie earned just a third of the pay of her co-star Ashton Kutcher in the 2011 movie No Strings Attached.
Portman was obviously aware of the situation and spoke up about it stating that “I wasn’t as [angry] as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy, Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar." Even Kutcher applauded Portman for having the confidence to speak up about the fact that she was paid much less, but this was almost seven years ago and it seems that nothing has changed since then.
7 Diane Keaton Earned Far Less Than Jack Nicholson For Something's Gotta Give
Diane Keaton is an actress who has been part of the business ever since 1970 and it seems that over the past forty years, her films have earned a cumulative gross of over $1.1 billion in North America. Despite this, even she was unable to negotiate equal pay with her male co-star when she was part of Something's Gotta Give back in 2003.
Keaton's co-star Jack Nicholson received back-end pay for his role in the film but it seems that Keaton never did. This means that she didn't earn a percentage of the film's profits, which is what many actors who were the stars of the movie usually have as part of their contract. Even though Keaton wasn't treated fairly for her part in the movie which was released 15 years ago, she was still able to earn a considerable amount of income throughout her 40+ year career.
6 Gwyneth Paltrow Was Paid Way Less Than The Male Actors For Iron Man
Gwyneth Paltrow is one of the best-known female actresses in Hollywood, but it seems that even her star power wasn't enough to ensure that she was given equal pay when she was part of one of the biggest films of her career. Paltrow was one of the main stars of Iron Man alongside Robert Downey Jr. but it seems that there was a huge gap in the pay between the two stars.
Paltrow talked about the pay gap between her and her movie love interest and stated that the entire thing "feels [terrible]." Of course, Gwyneth has been part of a number of other Marvel films as Iron Man has been featured in the Avengers universe but it seems that reports suggest that her character will not be returning in the future, even though the pay gap doesn't have much to do with her decision.
5 Michelle Williams Earned Less Than $1000 For Reshoots While Mark Wahlberg Earned Millions
Michelle Williams became the center of quite a scandal when it was revealed that she received 1,500 times less than her co-star Mark Wahlberg when it came to the reshoots of their movie All The Money In The World. Michelle reportedly earned just $80 per day for her work on the shoots, which totalled less than $1000 while Wahlberg earned around $1.5 million.
This means that Michelle earned around 1% of what her co-star earned for the same job. Wahlberg did manage to get fans back on his side by pledging to donate his $1.5 million earnings in Michelle Williams' name to the #TimesUp legal defence fund, which helps provide legal support to those who have experienced harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace. It seems that many stars have spoken out to support Michelle since they found out about her latest earnings, which should hopefully change the way these women are treated.
4 Jennifer Lawrence Was Paid Less Than The Male Stars For American Hustle
Jennifer Lawrence was the highest paid actress in the world back in 2015 but it seems that this wasn't enough to ensure that she was given the same pay as her male co-stars in American Hustle. Both Jennifer and her co-star Amy Adams received 7% of a cut of the film's profits which is 2% less than the film's male leads Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner.
It could be argued that Lawrence had a much smaller role than her co-stars, but it seems that the compensation usually has to do with star power rather than on the size of the role in the film and following The Hunger Games, it could be argued that Jennifer was as big a star as the likes of Bale and Renner so it is unknown why she was paid much less. Jennifer even talked about the pay gap but it seems that she was more disappointed that she gave up the negotiations much sooner than she should have.
3 Angelina Jolie Was Paid Less Than Brad Pitt For Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Angelina Jolie may have been married to Brad Pitt, but it seems that when it came to their careers, they couldn't have been further apart. The couple was part of the hit film Mr. & Mrs. Smith back in 2006 and they both had starring roles, Pitt earned $20 million while Angelina only earned half.
Of course, this was 12 years ago and the women in the film industry were not as likely to speak out about the pay gap but it just goes to show that even a woman who had the star power of Lara Croft still wasn't seen as on the same level as Brad Pitt. Over the past decade, it seems that this hasn't changed much for the women who are currently at the top of the business, which just goes to show that this isn't something new, but it is something that needs to change.
2 Julia Roberts Was The Star Of Pretty Woman But Earned Far Less Than Richard Gere
Julia Robert' biggest role of her career was in Pretty Woman back in 1990 but it seems that even though Roberts was obviously the biggest star of the film, this was the least she was paid for a movie. Roberts only earned $300,000 for her role as Vivian Ward in the classic film, but it seems that Richard Gere earned so much more.
While Richard Gere's salary for the film is still unknown, it seems that his earnings were in the millions, which makes sense since he had incredible star power at the time and was seen as one of the biggest stars of the movie. Of course, this was almost 30 years ago and Roberts wasn't the star that she is today. It was reported that she earned much more than her co-star Hugh Grant for their work in Notting Hill a few years later so it seems to have come full circle for the star.
1 Halle Berry Earned A Fraction Of What John Travolta Earned For Swordfish
Halle Berry is one of the biggest actresses in the world and a former Bond girl, but one of the most surprising facts about her career concerns the 2001 crime thriller Swordfish, which she starred in alongside John Travolta.
While it was well-known that Halle earned an extra $500,000 for revealing her body in the film, she still only earned a small fraction of what Travolta earned for his role in the film. It is reported that the pay gap was humungous since Berry earned just $2.5 million while her co-star who was known for his role in Grease earned $20 million. This means that without her extra pay, Berry would have earned just 10% what her co-star earned. Of course, at this point, Halle wasn't the star that Travolta was, but she was still seen as one of the main stars of the film and should have been paid much more.