One actress from the award-winning film Boyhood is making a global stand for womanhood.
Oscar Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette first demanded equal pay during her acceptance speech in 2015. “I was winning this award for playing a single mom, the primary breadwinner and caretaker of her children, and I thought how this woman’s life would have been different had she been paid her full dollar,” Arquette said in reference to the fact that, on average, women earn 77 cents for every dollar men make. “I never expected to win an Academy Award, and I decided that if I was given that moment, I would try to do something that would help millions of people because people really need it.”
In efforts to raise awareness among ordinary people, Arquette helped kick off UN Women’s #StopTheRobbery social media campaign. The hashtag aims to get people talking about the fact that, on a global average, women earn 23% less than men do for the same work, and that they are thus being “robbed” of their fair share of income. However, Arquette wants to see people doing more than talking about the issue of pay inequality. She wants to see people making efforts to change the unfair status quo.
Now, Arquette is bringing global attention to the economic issue with the launch of the UN’s Equal Pay Platform of Champions. The Platform enlists other celebrities, like two-time Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach, and leaders from private and public sectors in discussing the economic discrepancy and the ways to remedy it. Recently, these champions met at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York to discuss the income inequality that plagues nations around the world. “In all fields, at all levels of society, and across all countries, wage inequalities between men and women [are] a blatant reality, which impacts the lives of many,” Arquette said. “How much longer are we going to allow it? By joining this Platform, I am determined to shed light on this entrenched form of discrimination and help efforts to put an end to the gender pay gap.”
During the event, members of the Platform heard from Iceland’s Thorsteinn Víglundsson, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, who is striving to implement legislation that will reduce the gender pay gap. “The Icelandic Equal Pay Standard will enable us to achieve our goal of equal pay for work of equal value by 2022. Iceland knows that gender equality is the basis of our success and economic prosperity. We will implement legislation to require larger firms and institutions to have their equal pay system certified, based on the standard,” he told the members of the Platform.
On a similar note, Arquette mentions Switzerland’s initiatives to understand and tackle the pay gap at the event. “Switzerland did this thing where they made companies do gender audits,” she explained. “Half of them, when they looked at their analysis, found that they were paying women less.” Now that the Swiss government has evidence of unfair treatment, it can take steps towards evening the playing field.
Arquette hopes that with the support of members of the Platform and the advocates of the #StopTheRobbery campaign, real change will take place in the U.S. and abroad.
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