With seemingly no woman untouched by the gender pay gap, Sienna Miller is the latest of many to speak out about her experiences of workplace sexism. Speaking at the United Nation’s annual meeting on gender equality, the actor opened up about the moment that was ‘pivotal’ in her life.
In her speech, she told the story of when she was offered a role that she ‘was in love with’ but turned it down after finding out her male-costar was earning more than double what she was offered. She told the audience:
‘A few years ago, I was offered a gutsy, powerful role in a play that was close to my heart. It was a two-hander on Broadway, but I was offered less than half what my male costar was being paid,
‘The decision to turn down this particular role was difficult and lonely. I was forced to choose between making a concession on my self-worth and dignity and a role that I was in love with.
‘It turned out to be a pivotal moment in my life. Not because I did it. But because I didn’t.’
Opening up further about the Time’s Up organisation, she cited her fellow actor Reese Witherspoon in starting the legal defense fund which she states has ‘already helped 1,500 women courageous women’ after raising more than $20million in less than three months. She continued:
‘For me, the strongest significance of the Time’s Up movement is that, by bringing to light the darkest moments of some of the most powerful women in Hollywood, it sends a message to those who admire and listen to them.
‘This message is that sexual harassment happens to everyone, even those who we think are untouchable because of their fame or celebrity status. It sends the message that being treated unfairly, cannot be an intrinsic part of being a woman.’
Her powerful speech can be seen in full here:
At the same event, she went on to discuss her experience with harassment from the paparazzi, which led her to bring legal action against a number of different publications in 2008. She told audience members she was ‘relentlessly harassed by 15 camera-armed men on a daily basis, determined to scare me to the point of rage or tears in the name of getting a newsworthy shot.’
Ultimately, she decided to sue for harassment and invasion of privacy, stating ‘I fought back, and changed the privacy laws,’
Despite her fraught past experiences with harassment and gender bias of different kinds, she gave a hopeful message about the future thanks to the MeToo and Time’s Up movements, stating:
‘I am excited that this movement challenges the loneliness and isolation we have all felt in relatively insignificant or extreme situations. I really feel that as women, we are no longer alone.’