ENTERTAINMENT

Jessica Chastain Has A Kickass Way Of Closing The Gender Pay Gap In Hollywood

"I've created a boundary. I drew a line in the sand."

19/04/2017 11:59 AM AEST | Updated 19/04/2017 1:59 PM AEST
Mike Blake / Reuters

Jessica Chastain doesn't have time for your gender inequality BS.

As part of the Power of Women New York Issue, Chastain spoke to "Variety" about how she has changed her approach to taking roles, and doing her part to shed light on gender inequality in Hollywood.

"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," Chastain said.

Recounting a time when she saw former head of Sony, Amy Pascal, giving a talk where she revealed part of the reason for gendered pay inequality was that female performers were less likely to ask for more money than men. "Actresses need to stop being so grateful," Chastain reflected, "That really hit me. At first, I was really pissed off. And then I thought, 'She's touching on something here'."

What I do now, when I'm taking on a film, I always ask about the fairness of the pay. I ask what they're offering me in comparison to the guy. I don't care about how much I get paid; I'm in an industry where we're overcompensated for the work we do. But I don't want to be on a set where I'm doing the same work as someone else and they're getting five times what I'm getting.

Chastain, who won the Golden Globe in 2013 for her role in "Zero Dark Thirty", referred to actors as being overly compensated for their work, and made no effort in demanding more, but simply asking for fairness.

Reflecting on a recent incident where she turned down an offer due to wage-gap issues, she initially regretted her choice, but she soon realised what she had done had long-term effects.

"Everyone in the studio system heard what I did. creating a reputation: Don't bring Jessica something where she's not being fairly compensated compared to the male actor. Even though I lost that film, I've created a boundary. I drew a line in the sand."

"The power of 'no' means you're educating people in how to treat you."

Chastain's latest film "The Zookeeper's Wife" opens in cinemas May 4 and tells the story of Antonina and Jan Zabinski, the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo who were responsible of saving hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.

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