Forbes has released its list of best-paid actresses and unsurprisingly, The Hunger Games star, Jennifer Lawrence tops that list, having earned a total of $52million in the twelve month period reviewed. The 25-year-old actress took the number position from Sandra Bullock who earned a total of $8million this year (as against the $51million she earned last year).
Avengers star, Scarlett Johansson came in second position having earned a total of $35.5 million, while Melissa McCarthy took third place with a total earning of $23million. Chinese Actress, Bingbing Fan and Jennifer Aniston rounded up the top five with $21million and $16.5million respectively.
These recently released numbers bring to light again the question of the gender pay-gap in Hollywood. A few weeks ago, Forbes published the list for the highest-paid actors, and when you compare that list to that of their female counterparts, you might be inclined to agree that Hollywood is patriarchal when it comes to pay.
If both lists were to be combined, Robert Downey Jr. would come first with $80million and Jennifer Lawrence would come in second with $52million, but no woman would make the list again until we get to the seventh position (Scarlett Johansson with $35.5million), after which no woman would make the list of top ten. In fact, the cutoff to make the women’s list was $6 million, while the men’s was $13 million. Four women notched more than $20 million; 21 men did the same.
As a counter-argument however, it would be interesting to look at how well the movies of both sides did at the Box Office, this might give us an idea of why the huge gap in pay exists. It is tempting to scream unequal pay, without looking at other factors that dictate the pay.
Look at Melissa McCarthy for example; between 2014 and 2015, she starred in three movies: Spy, Tammy and St. Vincent. Spy did best at the Box Office, raking in $234million (the other two did $100million and $54milion respectively). Mark Wahlberg was number 10 on the men’s list. Between 2014 and 2015, he was in four movies (Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Gambler, Entourage and Ted 2). Together, they earned about $1.3billion. Naturally, it would make sense that someone whose films earns that amount would get paid more than his female counterpart, since her movies don’t pull in anything as close.
I could go on with several examples, but time and space won’t allow, but in your spare time, you could look over both lists and draw your comparisons. Chances are that you’ll come to the same conclusion as I did: while there is an obvious gender-pay problem in Hollywood, most of it is due to the forces of demand and supply, and not an agenda that is cooked up in a coven where men decide to make life miserable for the whole of womanhood.
You can view the full list of highest paid actresses below.
1. Jennifer Lawrence: $52 million
2. Scarlett Johansson: $35.5 million
3. Melissa McCarthy: $23 million
4. Bingbing Fan: $21 million
5. Jennifer Aniston: $16.5 million
6. Julia Roberts: $16 million
7. Angelina Jolie: $15 million
8. Reese Witherspoon: $15 million
9. Anne Hathaway: $12 million
10. Kristen Stewart: $12 million
11. Cameron Diaz: $11 million
12. Gwyneth Paltrow: $9 million
13. Meryl Streep: $8 million
14. Amanda Seyfried: $8 million
15. Sandra Bullock: $8 million
16. Emma Stone: $6.5 million
17. Mila Kunis: $6.5 million
18. Natalie Portman: $6 million