Patricia Arquette Says New Wage Equality Law Will Rock Hollywood

Photo: A.M.P.A.S./REX Shutterstock.
Actresses like Patricia Arquette and Jennifer Lawrence have put the issue of equal pay for women in Hollywood front and center this year. Now, California is just days away from enacting a new law that could put an end to wage disparity across all industries. Is it too early to celebrate and/or crank up the Bey?

Taking effect January 1, the Fair Pay Act calls for employers to pay male and female workers the same for performing "substantially similar" work. Though there's still some question over how the term "similar" will be defined and enforced, the law will pave the way for the state to narrow the wage gap significantly. Yes, even in Hollywood.

Arquette who famously called for equal pay in her Oscars speech this year, spoke in favor of the law at a recent press conference, Variety reports.

“In general, [employers] are going to have to make a radical readjustment, and they know that, because they know for decades they have been paying unfairly,” the actress said.

Though she noted that certain factors in the industry may also determine pay, Arquette touched on how the law could help actresses like herself and Lawrence demand the same salary as their male co-stars. Lawrence, for instance, has been vocal about being paid less than American Hustle co-stars Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.

"Jennifer Lawrence pays someone to negotiate on her behalf," Arquette explained. "But guess what, she is paying the same person those guys are paying. And yet subconsciously, their agents think, ‘This is just the status quo, this is the way the business is.’ They have allowed that to happen. The people she has been paying, and every woman has been paying Hollywood, have been allowing them to be undervalued. Their managers, Their agents. The studio. Everybody has to make a shift and go ‘Wait a second, dude, we know you are paying him whatever.'”

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. But let's not just consider this a victory for A-list actresses; it's a huge leap forward for any woman working in California.