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Jessica Chastain Fights Sexism and You Should Too

Jessica Chastain has quickly become one of the most outspoken advocates for gender equality in Hollywood because she always speaks up about the sexism she experiences in her line of work. She is constantly pushing for more female directors and crew members to be hired on the set and seeking better representation of women in film.

Amy Pascal once said that one of the reasons why women are not paid equally is because they do not ask for it. At first, Chastain was upset, even angry, about this comment, but after she thought about it, she says she realized how true it is.

“Women need to step forward and demand [to be] fairly compensated for their work,” says Chastain.

Now, Chastain always asks about the fairness of the pay, and always wishes to be informed about what her employers are offering to the men on set. Of course, she does not do this simply to demand more money, but to ensure that everything is fair. When she is not informed about what her co-stars are being paid, she demands a favored-nation clause, which is a contractual commitment that ensures no other relevant party is being compensated more.

Chastain recently turned down a huge role due to the wage gap, and she doesn’t regret this decision. “I’m not taking jobs anymore where I’m getting paid a quarter of what the male co-star is being paid. I’m not allowing that in my life,” says Chastain. When you stand up for yourself and say “no,” you are educating people on how to treat you.

Women in the United States are typically paid $0.79 for every dollar earned by a man. This is despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1963. The wage gap has barely budged since then.

However, it is important to know that Chastain’s message is applicable to all women regardless of their field, and there are so many things everyday women can do to ensure equal pay!

First, understand your right to equal pay. The EPA requires that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. Pay refers to all compensation, including salary, overtime, and bonuses. The jobs done do not have to be identical, but similar in terms of skill, effort, and responsibility. Stay aware of how you and your co-workers are being treated and document everything! If your job is not paying you fairly, you could potentially take your employer to court.

Talk about wages with your employer! Many employees are under the impression that they are not allowed to discuss wages, salaries, and benefits received by other employees with their boss or employer. This is completely false. Every employee has the right to know what they are being paid compared to their co-workers.

Also, know your value in the workplace. Follow Chastain’s example and stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to say no and to fight for equal pay.

Featured Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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