Kate Winslet has joined the Hollywood conversation about the gender pay gap.
“I’m having such a problem with these conversations. I understand why they are coming up but maybe it’s a British thing. I don’t like talking about money at all”, she told BBC Newsbeat.
Not talking about money is a British thing. But it’s also a ‘rich people’ thing. Not speaking about how much you earn is a luxury that Kate Winslet, can afford, but many women can’t.
Not talking about money is also a socialised female thing. And it’s part of the reason the gender pay gap exists and persists. Sheryl Sandberg has stressed the need for women to negotiate their salaries, and start having more open conversations about pay. In order for women to know how much they should be getting paid, salaries and bonuses need to be made transparent.
Winslet continued to voice her discomfort about the topic of money, saying “I don’t think that’s a very nice conversation to have publicly at all”.
Many conversations that are necessary, are unfortunately, not very nice. It’s not ‘nice’ to talk about racial inequality, or disability, or domestic violence, or poverty. It’s not ‘nice’ to talk about the refugee crisis or children in detention. But you know what else isn’t ‘nice’? HAVING a refugee crisis and HAVING children in detention.
Winslet went on to say, “…it seems quite a strange thing to be discussing out in the open like that. I am a very lucky woman and I’m quite happy with how things are ticking along…I haven’t ever felt that I’ve really had to stick up for myself just because I’m a woman”.
We’ve all done it – the old ‘I haven’t personally experienced it so it doesn’t exist’ argument.
We’ve never experienced ageism: Ipso facto, it doesn’t exist.
No one has ever yelled a racial slur at us: Thus racism is a myth.
It is not Winslet’s fault that there is a gender pay gap, and it isn’t her responsibility to fix it. But as an individual in a position of privilege, it is likely she has not experienced (or been significantly inconvenienced by) the very real consequences of systematic inequality. This conversation isn’t about money and it’s not about Hollywood. It’s about inequality.
We disagree that with Winslet that discussion about the gender pay gap is “vulgar”.
You know what is vulgar? Getting paid 25% less than your male co-star. And you know who got paid 25% less than their male co-star? Kate did. In our favourite movie of all time (Titanic, obvs), Winslet literally made half a million dollars less than DiCaprio. WHO DIED.
Kate is a lucky woman but she isn’t an average woman. She might think talking about money is vulgar, or uncomfortable, or not nice, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had. And it needs to be led by those who have voices.