Cast member Jennifer Lawrence poses at the premiere of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" in Los Angeles, Calif. on Nov. 17, 2014.
Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses earn far less than the boys


Earning $52 million over a 12-month period, actress Jennifer Lawrence on Thursday ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ annual list of highest-paid actresses. But that enormous price-tag is still nearly $30 million less than that of her male counterpart; earlier this year, Robert Downey Jr. topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid actors, raking in a whopping $80 million in 2014.

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In fact, compared side-by-side, the two lists show that only two women – Lawrence and screen siren Scarlett Johansson – earned enough money to break into the top 10 highest paid actors overall. Johansson, who earned $35.5 million over the past year, comes in eighth overall, behind Tom Cruise, Adam Sandler, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Jackie Chan.

Data revealed by the Sony hacks earlier this year placed a glaring spotlight on the enduring wage gap in Hollywood, a problem that has persisted for decades. Women also appear to be treated unfairly off-screen. For example, according to a University of Southern California Annenberg examination of the 100 top-grossing films of 2013, just two of 107 directors — or 1.9% — were female.

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In May, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women’s Rights Project demanded that federal and state civil rights agencies investigate the hiring practices throughout Hollywood for possible instances of gender discrimination.

“Blatant and extreme gender inequality in this large and important industry is shameful and unacceptable,” said Melissa Goodman, director of the ACLU Southern California’s LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project, in a press release last spring. “The time has come for new solutions to this serious civil rights problem.”