At a Hollywood party honouring the women nominated for Oscars at this weekend’s ceremony, Oscar-winners Jennifer Lawrence and Patricia Arquette shined a spotlight on an issue affecting women all over the country.
“When we talk about pay inequality it’s not about Hollywood pay inequality. It’s not about actresses’ pay inequality; it’s about 98 per cent of the industry has inequality,” Arquette said on the red carpet for Los Angeles Women in Film’s Cocktail Party honoring the female Oscar nominees.
“It’s not just about lack of diversity in film, it’s the lack of diversity in CEOs and boardrooms and any position of power. There’s a bigger conversation to be had about power-sharing.”
Inside the party, Arquette gave a speech underlining her passion for the issue, urging the audience, including Alicia Vikander, Maria Bello, and other members of the film industry, to sign a petition she is sponsoring supporting the resurrection of the Equal Rights Amendment.
“Thirty-three million women and kids who are living in poverty who would not be if they were paid their full dollar,” she said to the crowd. “One in five kids in America are hungry and if their mums were getting paid their full dollar, we would have a lot less hungry kids in the United States.”
Jennifer Lawrence, who was a surprise attendee at the event, echoed Arquette’s sentiments in an impromptu speech.
“I’m a huge fan of Patricia Arquette, I actually played a younger version of her once, and I love that she stood up,” Lawrence said. “We’re starting a conversation, we’re getting a dialogue going. … I didn’t know I was going to be (speaking). … Equal pay for women!”
In October of 2015 Lawrence penned an essay for Lena Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny Letter, speaking about her experience with pay inequality in the film industry, which Arquette referenced in her speech.
“Think about all the other women who are impacted by not having equal rights. And also think about these brave women like Jennifer Lawrence who are standing up and talking about pay inequality and are getting a bunch of (expletive) for it when the reality is millions and millions of women desperately need this.”