Emma Stone Reveals What She Had To Do For Equal Pay

July 7th 2017

Katelyn Harrop

Emma Stone, one of the nation’s highest paid actresses for 2015, recently opened up about her personal efforts to attain pay equality on Hollywood film sets.

In a recent interview with Out Magazine, Stone revealed that many of her male costars have taken pay cuts in order for her to receive equal pay.

“In my career so far, I’ve needed my male costars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair,” Stone said in an interview with Out. “If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life.”

Concern over Hollywood’s gender-based pay gap reached a new high in 2015 when leaked Sony emails revealed that Jennifer Lawrence, the highest paid actress in the world at the time, earned 35 percent less than Robert Downey Jr., the highest paid actor. That same year, only two actresses earned spots on Forbes' list of top earning celebrities.

The industry’s lack of pay parity is partially sustained by a non-exact “quote” payment system, in which an actor or actress' payment is largely based on past payments, and the commercial success of their projects. Thus, when women are underpaid in comparison to male coworkers for one project, they’re more likely to receive disproportionate payments for future projects.

"In my career so far, I've needed my male costars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them."An increasing number of actresses have come forward with their experience receiving unequal pay.

"In the past few months, I've become convinced of one thing: If I were a man, I'd be paid more,” wrote actress Judy Greer in an essay for Glamour. “I realize that some people may not sympathize with an actress who gets to be in movies and on TV for a living. But if you take away names and vocations, the fact is that in 2015 a man is still getting paid more money to do the same job a woman does, in Hollywood and everywhere else.”

"In the past few months, I've become convinced of one thing: If I were a man, I'd be paid more."

Stone’s story highlighted the unwillingness of entertainment studios to pay women the same, higher rates they are willing to pay for male actors. While men take a cut, women do not begin to move towards the economic opportunity of their male coworkers. And this issue becomes ever more concerning when race is factored in.

On average, women make less than 80 cents on every dollar made by a white man nationwide. For women of color, the gap is far more significant, with black and Hispanic women making 63 and 54 percent of the average white man's salary respectively, according to 2015 research from the American Association of University Women.

In Hollywood, this data resulted in zero black women on Forbes 2016 global list of highest paid actresses, with women of color making up only about 15 percent of Variety’s list of top paid comedic television actresses for the same year, and only three women of color filling slots on a similar list for dramatic TV actresses.