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Image / Editorial

In 2016, Female Actors Still Earn Considerably Less Than Men


by Niamh ODonoghue
29th Aug 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09: Jennifer Lawrence attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

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Forbes released their 2016 list of the highest paid actors, and to nobodies surprise, women in the industry still earn considerably less than men.

Iron Man actor Robert Downey Junior, who was top of the list for 3 consecutive years, was toppled this year by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. As well as knocking RDJ off of his high horse, The Rock broke the record for the most amount of money paid to an actor ever; earning an eye-rolling?$64.5 million. To put that into context, $64.5 million would also get you 2,294 Hermes Birkin bags prices at $150,000 each, two 36 person mega-super yachts priced at $30 million each; complete with cinema rooms, a stateroom a gym and spa, and a helipad, of course, and it could cover the cost of third level education in America for 941 students (that’s $60,659 per student at Harvard University).?Second to The Rock came Jackie Chan, earning $61 million.

The highest paid female actor for 2016 is Jennifer Lawrence who took home $46 million. Yes, that’s an obscene amount of money, yet it’s only 71 percent of what The Rock earned which, according to Forbes, is a little lower in comparison to the current pay gap between?white men and white women. Most recent figures say that a white woman earns 79c for every €1 a white man earns. Am I surprised that a gender gap still exists? Considering women are still prejudiced for wearing clothes that society deems inappropriate?(please see the burkini), and considering women here still don’t control their own bodily autonomy (please see the Repeal campaign), no: I’m not surprised.?Combined, the top ten earning female actors weighted in at $211 million, whereas the top ten highest earning male actors earned?$476.5 million.

Is sexism the root cause of the gender pay gap? It seems that we have a not-so-simple supply and demand problem. According to Forbes, there are more big-budget roles available for men than there are for women. The solution? More female protagonists, please. This recent study highlights that 73.5 per cent of leading roles were played by male actors this year, compared to a mere 26.4 percent of female leads.

Here are the top five male and female actors that make it on the list

  1. Dwayne Johnson – $64.5 million
  2. Matt Damon – $55 million
  3. Tom Cruise – $53 million
  4. Johnny Depp – $48 million
  5. Ben Affleck – $43 million
  1. Jennifer Lawrence – $46 million
  2. Melissa McCarthy – $33 million
  3. Scarlett Johansson – $25 million
  4. Jennifer Aniston – $21 million
  5. Fan Bingbing – $17 million