This is a situation that has been denounced for years. Take a look at the ranking of the best paid actors and actresses, which are published every year by Forbes, to realize the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Between August 2018 and August 2019, Dwayne Johnson, the world's best-paid actor, received $ 89.4 million, when Scarlett Johansson, the women's leader, received $ 56 million for her films. Economists have looked at this issue to determine the "real" extent of this gap.
Their conclusions, passed on in the Guardian, are eloquent: male stars earn on average $ 1.1 million more than their female costars for the same film, or around 985,000 euros. To arrive at this figure, Sofia Izquierdo Sanchez from Huddersfield University, John S. Heywood from University of Wisconsin and Maria Navarro Paniagua from Lancaster University analyzed the salaries of 256 male actors. and women (whose identity is not passed on), who played in 1,343 films between 1980 and 2015.
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"The gap can of course be related to sexism"
The Guardian explains that the three economists presented their findings at the annual conference of the European Economic Association in Manchester in August. "The gap is stubborn," says Sofia Izquierdo Sanchez when discussing the inequality of wages during this period. "It is almost the same in 2015 as in 1980. It shows no signs of improvement."
According to them, the action films, category in which we find seven of the ten most-seen films in the world in 2018, are particularly poor in terms of equal pay: the male stars earn $ 1.8 million more than their female counterparts in these films. If we ignore certain factors, such as receipts or the prizes that actors and actresses have won, this wage gap becomes even greater in Hollywood: the difference would be $ 2.2 million (around € 1.97 million) for the benefit of the actors . The weight of years is also an "aggravating factor": after 50 years, men earn on average $ 4 million more per film than women.
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Measures taken in France
"We thought we could find a gap because many actresses raise the issue. But we were surprised to find such a gap, especially since we are talking about top-level actresses, such as Meryl Streep," adds the economist. "If this cannot be explained by the performance or popularity of actors or actresses, the gap can of course be related to sexism," she says. Actresses regularly demand equal pay. The British newspaper cites the examples of Patricia Arquette and her speech at the Oscars in 2015, by Meryl Streep or Charlize Theron. In 2018, Cate Blanchett, jury chairman of the Cannes film festival, was part of a group of 82 women from the film world who demanded this equal pay.
Françoise Nyssen, then Minister of Culture, announced at the first meeting on gender, equality and diversity in the new measures in this direction. It has been decided to grant a 15% bonus to films whose teams are exemplary in terms of parity. But these measures only apply to French films. Hollywood is still far away if we believe the recent calls are called Salma Hayek or Julianne Moore. We must believe that the voices of all these stars on the big screen are not enough …