Women's Equality Day 2022: Actresses Who Have Spoken Against Gender Pay Gap In Bollywood

Women's Equality Day 2022: Actresses Who Have Spoken Against Gender Pay Gap In Bollywood

New Delhi: Women’s Equality Day will be commemorated on August 26, Friday. The day honours the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. It took many lifetimes for women to reach where they are in terms of equality, thanks to the consistent efforts of women across the generations. While they have come a long way, there is a lot more to achieve in order to achieve equality in the complete and truest sense. 

The gender pay disparity is a harsh reality for women across all industries – an outcome of a patriarchial mindset and prejudiced thinking. Even the Indian film industry is no different when it comes to the pay gap between male and female actors. Even top actresses like Deepika Padukone, and Kareena Kapoor Khan don’t get the same remuneration as their counterparts, no matter how pivotal their role is for the film. 

In the last few years, many actresses have come forward and spoken about the pay gap and have demanded equal pay for equal work. Take a look: 

Deepika Padukone: Deepika has always been vocal about the disparity. She reportedly declined Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Baiju Bawra as she asked for the same fee as her husband Ranveer’s. She had once said in an interview, “I know my track record and what I’m worth. I know that my co-actor’s films haven’t been doing as well as my films have been doing. It made absolutely no sense. I was okay to say no to that film based on that one thing as I thought it was unfair. I don’t think I’ll be able to live with the thought knowing that I have been a part of a film, had the same creative contribution or bringing the same value to a film but being underpaid.” 

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Sonam Kapoor: Sonam Kapoor had spoken about the topic on ‘Koffee With Karan’. She said, “The pay gap is ridiculous. I can stand up to it, but then I don’t get those roles, and I’m okay with that. I can afford to do that. I realised over the past two or three years that I have no right to judge anybody. I’m privileged, so making difficult choices isn’t really f**king difficult. I think it is about time, as women, as actors, as artists that we get our due.” 

Priyanka Chopra: In an interview with Instyle magazine Priyanka Chopra spoke about the staggering difference in the remuneration of male actors and female actors in both Indian and American film industries. “I feel it every year, especially when you’re doing movies with really big actors, whether it’s in India or America. If an actor is getting 100 bucks, the conversation will start with max, like, 8 bucks. The gap is that staggering. In America, we don’t talk about it as brashly, whereas in India the issue is not skirted around. I’ve been told straight up, if it’s a female role in a movie with big, male actors attached, your worth is not really considered as much. It happens in both countries, it’s just that here, it’s hidden behind other things. In America, everyone is so worried about being liable that they don’t want to say anything wrong, but they end up doing it anyway,” she said. 

Kangana Ranaut: Never to mince her words, Kangana once told NDTV, “My male counterparts are paid thrice the amount. No one can guarantee the success of a film so why such discrimination? I don’t do one scene or one item song in a film. I can only speak for myself and I am commanding a certain amount of money, but I still think I am underpaid.” 

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Kareena Kapoor Khan: In an interview with the Guardian, Kareena had spoken about the disparity and said, “Just a few years ago, no one would talk about a man or woman actually getting equal pay in a movie. Now there are a lot of us being very vocal about it. I make it quite clear what I want and I think that respect should be given. It’s not about being demanding, it’s about being respectful towards women. And I think things are kind of changing.” 

Vidya Balan: Vidya, who has done many female-centric films, spoke about the existing pay gap and future in an interview. “There is a huge pay disparity between males and females in Bollywood. But I’m sure with time, this gap would reduce. We will definitely fight to bridge this gap.” 

Taapsee Pannu: Taapsee Pannu in an interview said that if a male actor asks for a certain amount of money it is considered that his market value is increased while if a female actor does the same she is called out to be demanding. “If it would have been a man in that position who would have asked for that much amount, people would have said, ‘Iski market badh gayi hai’. That guy has really achieved big success in life.’ It’s because a woman who is asking for it she is called out to be ‘difficult’ or ‘too demanding’. It’s always like that. You will always read about this issue about hike in salary when it comes to women,” Taapsee had said. 

Katrina Kaif: In an interview with Barkha Dutt for We The Women, Katrina Kaif said, “My argument to that is, which I discuss with a lot of producers I’m close to and have worked with, give the female-dominated films—with maybe one or two female leads—the same budget and mounting that you are giving to the male stars or the combination of a male and a female star. Give that to a female film and see what happens then.” 

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Anushka Sharma: In an interview with Economic Times, Anushka Sharma addressed the issue and said, “If there is an actor of the same stature as me, he would still be paid more than me because he is a guy. Men can work as long as they want to, but women are only okay till they are young and desirable. If you’re on an outdoor shoot, you know that the guy is going to get a better room than you. Why?” 

Aditi Rao Hydari: In conversation with PTI, Aditi mentioned she doesn’t understand why women get paid less than male actors even though they work just as hard. “I don’t really understand why we are paid less than the male actors because we put equal efforts and the recent past has shown that actresses can deliver a hit film. We deserve better pay, equal to what actors get.” 

Sonakshi Sinha: Sonakshi Sinha had said that the one thing that she wants to change in Bollywood is the pay disparity.