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#FairPayMatters: What the World Needs to Learn From the Sony vs Charlize Theron Fiasco

Topics: Current Events

If anything good came out of the Sony email hack, it’s that Charlize Theron put Sony on blast for paying her $10 million less than her male co-star, Chris Hemsworth, for their upcoming film, The Huntsman. Let’s take a look at how Theron’s ballsy move (pun very much intended) is encouraging women to quit the coy act and fight for their right to earn equal pay in their careers.

gender pay gap

(Photo Credit: DWNews Recent Celeb Gallery/Flickr)

There’s no question that the gender wage gap exists, and studies show that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. PayScale’s Gender and Pay at Work data package, which compares salaries of men and women at specific jobs, shows that women still earn less than men, despite having comparable backgrounds and holding the same job title. For the category of Chief Executives (composed of 80 percent males and 20 percent females), men make an estimated 13 percent more than women, with median male salary equal to $193,000 and median female salary equal to $170,000.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Despite what the studies show, gender discrimination in any way, shape, or form is illegal in the workplace, and it violates the Equal Pay Act, which “prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.” So, why is it still so prevalent and why aren’t more people talking about it?

Unfortunately, many women shy away from the conversation about gender inequalities in the workplace because they’re fearful it will backfire on them, and recent research shows that these women aren’t too far off in their fears. In Charlize Theron’s case, her celebrity status helped make headlines with this very real issue and showed the world that even Hollywood A-list actresses face gender discrimination, too — but, more importantly, that it’s not OK.

The Sony email leak also unveiled that a pay gap exists at the studios, as well. A Think Progress article reported that Hannah Minghella, co-president of production at Columbia Pictures, made $1 million less than her male counterpart, Michael de Luca, who holds the same exact job title. It’s about time we all declare that #FairPayMatters.

Women take on much more responsibility than men outside of their careers (e.g. raising children and doing household chores, to name a few tasks) and they also make up half of the workforce, so it shouldn’t be acceptable to pay them less for equal work as a man, then say it’s taboo to talk about this fact.

One organization, BE a MAN, points out, “At the current pace it will take us over 100 years until a woman’s salaries equal men’s.” In its video, How to Get a Raise in 47 Seconds, BE a MAN depicts the chairwoman of Kommunal undergoing a transformation from female to male in order to get a raise. The message is powerful and depicts the embarrassing state of gender inequality that still exists around the world to this very day.

Learn how to negotiate your salary/raise like a pro with PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide, which breaks down the entire process in three easy and informative steps: Research, Strategize, and Negotiate.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you feel as though your gender has negatively affected your compensation? If so, share your story with our community on Twitter and start the conversation that needs to happen.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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In response to “MaleMatters”: Yes, far more women than men choose to “stay at home” (a misleading term, by the way) because they are self-driven to take care of their family in ways other than just “bringing home the bacon”. Women, generally, are more suitable for the stay-at-home position than men because they are innately better caretakers: -WOMEN take the initiative to feed their family actual food. Yes, maybe the husband is providing the money, but the women actually do… Read more »


RE: MaleMatters:
The Payscale title bar asks the question: “What am I worth?”
A woman’s self-worth – at work – IS tied to her net-worth, just like her male coworkers.
Your review has nice things to say about women who stay at home, and the loving husbands who support them, et al…but this article speaks to EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK – at work.


I would challenge that Women take on more things outside the workforce. Men do not get the recognition for splitting half the duties at home. As women fight for equal pay and rightfully so men should be recognized for evolving and helping out at home!


hemswoth- 1.3b in 10 movies
Theron- 1.1b in 30 movies


Six months after I, a man, was hired into a company in the mid-1960s, in the “Mad Men” era, another man was hired to do the exact same thing — at a higher salary than mine at the time. The company had a policy of salary confidentiality. (When the boss is away, some workers discuss their salaries despite the policy.) The policy’s purpose was to enable employers to woo from other companies prospective employees who the company thought would be… Read more »

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