Emma Thompson: I was always paid less than my male counterparts

Posted by
Anna Brech
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

She’s a Hollywood heavyweight with a slate of award-winning films to her name, not to mention an Oscar and a damehood.

But even a career as illustrious as Emma Thompson’s is no guarantor of equal pay. 

Speaking to Good Housekeeping this week, Thompson admits that she too has fallen prey to the gender pay gap - just like millions of women around the world.

“I was always paid less than my male counterparts,” says the actor, whose Hollywood credits include everything from Love Actually to Sense and Sensibility and the Harry Potter franchise. 

Thompson also welcomed this year’s legislation that forces all companies with 250 employees or more to report their gender pay gap.

“Publishing figures is the first step,” she says.

“It’s a forensic way of looking at how women are second-class citizens and I really appreciate that because it’s not emotional.

“This is the fact: this person does the same work for less money, and that’s just wrong.”

A “card-carrying, radical feminist” since the age of 19, Thompson has always championed women’s rights.

“Earn your own living and keep your own money,” she urges women, in her latest interview. “It’s your cash and you should always decide what to do with it.”

Harvey Weinstein Weinstein going to court in June

Even before the #MeToo movement erupted last year, Thompson was vocal about sexism in Hollywood.

A few years ago, the actor hit out at the lack of good film roles for women beyond a certain age, describing the situation as “completely shit”.

“I don’t think there’s any appreciable improvement and I think that, for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young,” she said. 

As a growing list of allegations emerged against producer Harvey Weinstein six months ago, Thompson warned against the use of apologist language.

“I don’t think you can describe him as a sex addict,” she insisted during an appearance on Newsnight.

“He’s a predator. He’s an actual predator, he’s dangerous and what he’s done and what he’s doing is criminal.”

She added that “this man is at the top of a very particular iceberg… (At) the top of the ladder of is a system of harassment, and belittling, and bullying, and interference.”

Images: Getty


Share this article


Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.