In an interview with Variety for its Power of Women issue, Jessica Chastain opened up about the gender pay gap issues facing female actresses in Hollywood.
‘I'm not allowing that in my life,’ Chastain stated.
‘I remember watching Amy Pascal… She said part of the reason women don’t get paid equal to men is they don’t ask for more; actresses need to stop being so grateful. That really hit me. At first, I was really pissed off. And then I thought, “She’s touching on something here.” Women need to step forward and demand they’re fairly compensated for their work,’ the actress elaborated.
The two-time Oscar-nominated star revealed how she negotiates contracts to ensure she earns the same as her male co-stars, and if her pay is not equal, she does not take the part.
‘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,’ she explained.
Chastain also revealed that recently she had turned down a ‘huge’ role because of the wage gap.
‘There was something huge that I recently turned down. For me, it wasn’t about the money; it was an old-fashioned problem of the wage gap. I turned it down, and they didn’t come back. I remember afterwards I was like, “What did I do? Maybe it was a mistake.” But it wasn’t, because everyone in the studio system heard what I did. So what you’re doing is 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,’ she concluded.