22 Important Celebrity Quotes About Equal Pay & The Gender Wage Gap

While the gender pay gap is still an issue that is glaringly problematic in 2016 across the board, there have been an increasing number of frank public discussions about it, particularly from celebrities. The only way to illuminate change is to talk about an issue, and I, for one, am grateful that many celebs are discussing the equal pay issue, because it gives hope that if public figures are using their voices to ignite change, that the rest of the world will follow suit. Of course, the salaries in Hollywood are on a much greater scale than what the average person will see in a lifetime, but it still matters: No one should do the same kind of work as someone else and receive less for it due to their gender.

When celebrities talk openly and candidly about the wage gap, it only serves as positive reinforcement that change can happen in our lifetime, and that is always a good thing. These celebrities simply aren't OK with making less money than a man simply based on gender, and they're using their public stature as a way to break down these barriers for all of us. It's incredibly inspiring and also super critical that they do.

1. Jennifer Lawrence

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Lawrence has been one of the most outspoken actors fighting the wage gap in Hollywood in recent times, and her candor as a young, A-list star is exactly what is needed to fuel real, actual change. In a Lenny Letter essay on the topic, Lawrence wrote,

2. Carey Mulligan

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In response to Lawrence's Lenny Letter, Mulligan told Deadline,

3. Beyoncé Knowles


Beyoncé wrote a poignant message in 2014 about gender equality in The Shriver Report. She wrote,

4. Patricia Arquette

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Arquette has made it her mission to use her celebrity to shed light on the equal pay issue, petitioning to the Supreme Court and U.S. House of Representatives to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which Arquette says in her petition was "first introduced in 1923 by Alice Paul, is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms that all citizens deserve equal rights under the law regardless of sex or gender. Seems self-evident, right?" She added,

Arquette's petition has raised upwards of 102,000 signatures since its creation in February 2016.

5. Venus Williams

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Williams has long been an advocate for equal pay in the professional sports world, and in 2005, she spoke about the pay disparity at a Grand Slam Committee meeting. According to espnW, Larry Scott recalled her saying,

6. Jessica Chastain

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Echoing a similar sentiment as Mulligan in regards to Lawrence's Lenny Letter, the actor told a red carpet interviewer,

7. Sharon Stone

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Stone was quick to acknowledge that the wage gap issue is important beyond the high salaries in Hollywood, telling People that change "has to start with regular pay, not just for movie stars, but regular pay for the regular woman in the regular job," and discussing times early in her career when she remembers, "sitting in my kitchen with my manager and just crying and saying I'm not going to work until I get paid. I still got paid so much less than any men."

8. Sienna Miller

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The actor reportedly told British Vogue in 2015 about a personal experience she'd had with pay disparity, saying,

9. Gwyneth Paltrow

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In 2015, Paltrow told Variety regarding equal pay in Hollywood: "It can be frustrating. It can be painful. Your salary is a way to quantify what you’re worth. If men are being paid a lot more for doing the same thing, it feels sh*tty."

10. Amanda Seyfried

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Seyfried told the Sunday Times in 2015 of a shocking situation she faced on a project,

11. Toni Collette

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In regards to the wage gap in the film industry, the actor told Variety in 2015, "It’s a f*cking sexist industry. I don’t understand why genitalia makes a difference. Creativity is creativity."

12. Judy Greer

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The actor penned an essay for Glamour magazine in 2015 discussing this issue. She wrote,

13. Bradley Cooper

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In support of his co-stars Lawrence and Miller, Cooper told Entertainment Tonight,

14. Jessica Alba


In another example of a show of support for Lawrence, Alba told Cosmopolitan UK in April 2016,

15. Emma Watson

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In 2014, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Watson created a campaign around the issue of gender equality. Her campaign, HeForShe, addresses issues ranging from equal pay to equal access to education for women and girls, and in her introductory speech, Watson said, "the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work."

16. Rosario Dawson

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Dawson pointed out to MTV News that the issue is not merely one of gender, but of ethnicity and race, also. She said,

17. Hope Solo

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The soccer star told Today in March 2016 that the issue is not relegated to Hollywood, but professional athletics as well:

18. Charlize Theron

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Theron made headlines when she negotiated equal pay to her male co-stars for the sequel to Snow White And The Huntsman, telling Elle UK,

19. Salma Hayek

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At Variety's Power of Women luncheon in 2015, Hayek said, "This is a problem that is in every single industry. If you have the same capacities and you are doing the same job, it is criminal not to pay the same salary."

20. Tina Fey


When discussing the roles available to women in comedy, Fey told Town & Country about questions she faced when promoting her film Sisters with Amy Poehler saying,

21. Viola Davis

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The actor told Mashable her motivation comes from her own daughter, saying,

22. Kerry Washington

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In a powerful speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Washington expressed the importance of standing up for equal rights. She said, "Today there are people trying take away rights that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for: our right to vote, our right to choose, affordable quality education, equal pay, access to health care. We the people can't let that happen."

These quotes are some seriously powerful examples of celebrities using their voice to fuel change in the gender pay disparity, not just in the film and sports industries, but in all work forces. Bravo to them!