Why Amy Adams' silence on equal pay in Hollywood speaks volumes for workers' rights.

Actress Amy Adams has been mistakenly painted as keeping mum on gender pay inequality — when, in fact, she was trying to do the opposite.

After being criticized for not being more vocal about the gender pay gap when it was revealed that she and co-star Jennifer Lawrence were making significantly less than their male counterparts in "American Hustle," Adams set the record straight.

Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for IFP.


In a telling interview, Adams revealed that to her, there are more important gender wage gap issues to talk about.

"Everyone wanted me to talk about how I felt about it, but I want to fight for people outside our industry, so to come out and look ungrateful about what I'm paid as an actress just didn't feel right," Adams told The Telegraph.

Having taken home $11.5 million in 2017, Adams makes substantially more than teachers and domestic workers, not to mention doctors and lawyers.

"I do believe in equal pay, but let's start with our teachers," Adams added. "Let's get waiters paid the minimum wage. That's what's great about what's happening with Time's Up — we're starting to have bigger conversations than just about what's happening in Hollywood."

Adams' point rings painfully true: White women across industries make, on average, 80 cents to the white male dollar — and those numbers are much worse for black and Latinx women.

According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, Latinx women make 54 cents for every dollar that a white man makes, and black women are not expected to see equal pay until 2124.

Yes, that's more than a hundred years from now.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

The dialogue around wage issues and pay inequity across race and industry is growing.

As teachers across the U.S. march for higher pay and school funding, immigrant restaurant workers strike for livable wages, and activists across the country demand that the minimum wage be raised to meet an unreal inflation rate, Adams' point about centering these voices is important.

Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images.

That doesn't mean that women in Hollywood can't or shouldn't fight for equal pay too.

Just because one makes a sizable income doesn't mean they're not allowed to decry patriarchal pay standards. Well-known women like Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Mindy Kaling, and Tracee Ellis Ross are on the frontlines of the pay gap in Hollywood, and they've spoken out for women in their and other industries as well.

"I went to my boss at the time and I said everybody needs a raise," Winfrey once told Time magazine. "And he said, 'Why?' He actually said to me, 'They're only girls. They're a bunch of girls — what do they need more money for?' I go, 'Well, either they're going to get raises, or I'm going to sit down.' I will not work unless they get paid.'"

Whether Adams will become more vocal about the gender pay gap in Hollywood specifically remains to be seen, but she certainly deserves applause for offering some much-needed truth-telling on the importance of centering society's most vulnerable in the discussion of pay inequity.

Let's continue raising our voices in our own ways to make sure change happens for everyone.

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