“Equal Pay for Equal Work, Equal Value” – Reflecting on Sony, Jennifer Lawrence, and the Gender Pay Gap Hustle


With all due respect, I disagree with Aaron Sorkin. He wrote an op-ed, The Sony Hack and the Yellow Press: Journalists Shouldn’t Help the Sony Hackers, strongly against the journalists who revealed the details from the great Sony hack. I agree with his major premise – most of what was revealed should have never been reported by anyone in the journalism profession at all. Most, but not all…

In one instance, I think it should have been reported. That is the details regarding the gender pay gap. The fact is that the women are simply not paid as much as the men. And I think one could make the case that in the examples cited, this should be reported, talked about, and discussed… and, changed.

Why should the men in this photo make more money than the women?
Why should the men in this photo make more money than the women?

Here are the details. Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams got less than the male actors for American Hustle, and women top executives made less than men in the same position. The details are reported in this Business Insider article, LEAKED: Jennifer Lawrence Got American Hustled In Sony Deal.

Here’s the key excerpt:

Got a steve warren/gretchen rush call that it’s unfair the male actors get 9% in the pool and jennifer is only at 7pts. You may recall Jennifer was at 5 (amy was and is at 7) and WE wanted in 2 extra points for Jennifer to get her up to 7. If anyone needs to top jennifer up it’s megan [producer Megan Ellison]. BUT I think amy and Jennifer are tied so upping JL, ups AA.

Gumpert added: “The current talent deals are: O’Russell: 9%; Cooper: 9%; Bale: 9%; Renner: 9%; Lawrence: 7%; Adams: 7%.”

and

According to a spreadsheet listing top exec salaries, Hannah Minghella, who serves as co-president of production at Columbia Pictures, makes about $1 million less per year ($1.5 million) than her male counterpart with the same job, Columbia Pictures co-president of production Michael De Luca ($2.4 million).

So, why are the women paid less than the men? Surely they bring as much value as the men. It could be strongly argued that Jennifer Lawrence brought more value than the men.

So… if this is a true gender pay gap (it looks like it is), what can be done about it. This is the problem.

We live in a society where each person is out for as much as he/she can get at all times. When a woman pushes for “her fair share,” she can be viewed as too pushy, whereas any man who pushes for more is called a strong negotiator, and praised for such ability. (There are quite a few good books on this. One I recommend highly is Knowing Your Value by Mika Brzezinski).

Someone at the top needs to say, to mandate – “equal pay is our standard here.” And, maybe, some men need to say “I demand that the pay be equal for the women serving in the same positions as men – including my position.”

If the pay pie is only so big, then for this to happen, some men would have to receive less as women receive more. But, why is it fair that Jennifer Lawrence, and Hannah Minghella, were paid/are paid less than their male counterparts?

The answer is… it isn’t.

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