So. Recent conversations with people in the showbiz industry reveal this: some of us are more informed than others. This is not unusual. But what makes a difference is having the desire to find out more about the world, your status in it, the struggles of your peers and those who came before you.
Women. Do we get paid less?
This is how I understand it: our pay structure is slightly but not so different to more traditional industries. Our inequality begins at the stage of opportunity, same as in other industries – if you can’t get the jobs, if you’re not allowed in and the jobs don’t “exist”, then you won’t gain experience, cache, or credibility. You then don’t get anywhere close to being paid the same as men. NB – intersectionality and the effects of race, class, disability, sexuality adds the the tiers of pay.
But we ALSO see blatant discrimination and undervaluing of e.g. leading women in Holllywood and in the UK who clearly get paid less than leading men. Female comedians usually get paid less – women aren’t as funny and don’t sell tickets, apparently. This isn’t an idea I want to help perpetuate. Our sensitivity around not wanting to talk about money does not help with exposing inequalities.
It’s great that some arts organisations in the UK recognise institutionalised gender bias and are taking action: looking up female playwrights who have been historically ignored, acknowledging the lack of roles and positive roles for women, and hiring female crew and creatives including female directors. Equity at the National have started looking into a more transparent pay system.
If we want to be treated like human beings worth the same as men, we first have to see and acknowledge the status quo.
Pay is just one symptom of how a group of people are held with less regard or taken advantage of. It’s not unrelated to how women are objectified.
Article on women working for free from now to the end of the year because of gender pay gap: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/09/gender-pay-gap-women-working-free-until-end-of-year
Forbes piece on Hollywood pay: http://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2015/11/12/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-hollywood-pay-gap/