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Feminism in Theatre: Another Day, Another 20-Something Female Role Being Cast Non-Equity

January 12, 2015

If there’s any small, twisted comfort to be had, the Sony hack has shown us that even female celebrities aren’t immune to gender wage inequality. Actually, it’s not much of a comfort really, but at least I know that it’s not just me and it’s not just those of us whom I’d deem “working class actors.” Which doesn’t make the larger problem better, but it does help me to take it less personally. We all should be taking this personally, though.

There is a real problem in the entertainment industry with taking women seriously.

I’m sorry to get so real here on Green Room Blog, when I’m usually full of motivational wisdom and sharing successes, but if we’re being honest, I’m not really sorry at all because this is something that’s really been getting me down over the past year or so and it’s time that we all talked about it for all of our sakes.

If I had an acting job for every time in the past year that I’ve heard “You’re great, but we’re casting that [insert young female role here] locally” or seen a breakdown where all of the 12 characters are on equity contracts except for the two young women leads, I would be swamped with work and turning gigs down.

Nearly six years into my acting career, I’m totally cool with not getting hired because there’s someone better for this particular job or because I look too much like the other woman they’ve already cast. But losing out on a job because they need to save equity contracts for the men? That I can’t abide. Not silently.

I get that there are far more of us women in the biz than men and that it creates an excess supply of talented young actresses. I also understand the economic realities of producing all too well after producing my own play and having to make many difficult decisions about where money was spent. But scrimping budget-wise by paying women less than men who are doing the same work? Unacceptable. Just completely and utterly unacceptable.

I expect better from the community of liberal-minded creatives that is perpetuating this inequality. I expect better from our union, who is charged with protecting us all equally. And I expect better from all of us theatre women and our male allies to demand change.


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