As everybody probably knows by now – the new X-files show is out – which for this Mulder and Scully fan was very exciting.
What was not so exciting to learn though, is about the pay dispute Gillian Anderson had to go through in order to receive equal pay to David Duchovny.
To this I say what the fuck?!
How could the studio executives justify offering Anderson half, that’s right half of what they were offering to Duchovny?
The pay disparity between men and women is not a new debate and nor should it be when women in western countries alone still earn sometimes up to 20% less than their equally qualified male peers. Anderson went public about this dispute, as well she should. She admitted that in the earlier days of X-Files she had had to fight tooth and nail just to get a fair pay packet. However, she had assumed now after the immense success of the show and presumably also because she is equally if not more successful than Duchovny, that the amount of money she received this time would be fair. This was not the case, and there can be no other justification for this unfair offer other than that she is a woman and Duchovny is a man. It is slightly horrifying that this completely inequitable decision could be made.
I am glad that she went public about this and that also she fought and won for the same amount.
In more recent news Robin Wright – of House of Cards fame – spoke publically about her pay dispute with the network. She came to the realisation that her character on the show was more popular that Kevin Spacey’s and so demanded equal pay. At the time Spacey was earning $500,00 per episode and Wright was earning $420,000. Although this situation may be considered slightly different as Claire was not the main protagonist of the show so it could be argued that she didn’t deserve as much as Spacey, the fact that Wright fought and won for equal pay is significant, and it is fantastic that she has spoken openly about this, hopefully it will inspire other women in whatever field to do the same.
These examples shine a light on the fact that no matter what industry you work in, or how successful you may be in said industry, that if you are a woman you may still have to fight just to be considered equal.
Fair pay benefits everyone not just woman. Industries that have traditionally been considered “woman’s jobs” are paid less than roles in similar but often male dominated areas. Teachers and nurses are constantly in dispute about their low wages and these are positions that are now filled by both men and women alike.
When the gender gap closes men will benefit as well and those that lose out will only be doing so because they were not as qualified for the job, rather than that they had the privilege of being born with a penis.
I hope that this public shaming of the studio execs serves as a wake up call for those making these decisions and maybe one day (preferably in our lifetimes) this will no longer be an issue.