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Priyanka Chopra vs. the Gender Pay Gap

Even if you’re not the biggest film fan, chances are you’ve heard of Priyanka Chopra unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for your entire life. As one of the most celebrated Indian actors ever, she is also a fierce activist, singer, producer and model [winner of Miss World 2000]. Quite recently, she was featured on BBC’s 100 Women - a ‘list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2022.’

In her interview for BBC’s 100 Women, Chopra unveiled that for the first time in the entirety of her acting career, she was to receive equal pay as her male co-lead in the upcoming Hollywood TV series Citadel.

“I've never had pay parity in Bollywood. I would get paid about 10% of the salary of my male co-actor", said Chopra Jonas. "It [the pay gap] is large, substantially large. And so many women still deal with that.”

"My generation of female actors have definitely asked [for equal pay]. We've asked, but we've not got it."

To hear this is astonishing: how could someone so famed and successful as her with over 60 films under her belt and multiple accolades only get equal pay now? Unfortunately, this isn’t that rare. The wage disparity in film industries worldwide is a badly kept secret but one that has been increasingly brought up in recent years due to actors bravely speaking out about their own experiences.

Take the example of Taapsee Pannu, another famous Bollywood actor. In an interview, she said that “If a female actor asks for more, she is termed difficult and problematic and if a man asks more it’s a mark of his success. The difference is the men who started with me earn 3-5 times more than I do. And the gap keeps increasing as we go into higher star categories.”

Or take Ellen Pompeo, who stars as the main lead on the Hollywood hit series Grey's Anatomy. Despite this, she was infamously paid less than Patrick Dempsey who played her love interest. All this happened on a show named after her character, Meredith Grey.

The list of victims goes on and on, a problem which affects every single woman in the film industry and in jobs all over the world. On average, a woman earns only 83 cents per dollar for a man. Equal rights mean nothing in the face of unequal pay, and even with all the progress we have made the deep-rooted patriarchy in our society remains. How much longer must we wait until a change is brought around?

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