Cause: Closing the gap between what men and women make for doing the same job and passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure approved by the House last week (and now headed to the Senate).
Celeb: Michelle Williams, the pixie-haired actress who has become one of the leading advocates for ending pay disparity in Hollywood. The onetime “Dawson’s Creek” star got up close and personal with the issue after it was revealed in 2017 that she had earned less than $1,000 to her co-star Mark Wahlberg’s $1.5 million paycheck for reshooting for the film “All the Money in the World” after scandal-scarred actor Kevin Spacey was taken off the project. (Wahlberg eventually donated his pay to #TimesUp, a legal fund for sexual abuse and harassment victims.)
Scene: A news conference in the Capitol Building with a rally-like vibe featuring members of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus marking Equal Pay Day. Activists from the labor and women’s rights movements cheered as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged the Senate to move the bill.
Sound bite: Williams, who looked Capitol Hill Serious in a black turtleneck and horn-rimmed glasses, recalled finding out about the dramatic difference in her pay and the initial reaction to the news, which was basically a shrug. (It wasn’t until later, until after Williams’s fellow actress Jessica Chastain called out the unfairness on Twitter that there was public outcry about it.) “If it was like this for me, a white woman in a glamorized industry,” Williams said, “what was it like for my sisters suffering across their professions?”
Williams struck a practical note, arguing that women who are paid the same as their male peers are more productive workers. “Imagine a workplace where women don’t have to spend any energy fighting for fair pay or defending their rights and can instead focus that energy on the fullest expression of the task at hand and enjoy . . . fair and equal compensation for every woman.”