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Jonathan Ross achieved equal pay for Katherine Ryan by asking one question

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Emily Reynolds
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Here’s one simple step men can take to be allies to women in the workplace. 

The gender pay gap still persists. Figures revealed earlier this year found that fewer than one in seven companies pays women more than men; that men make up the majority of high paying jobs; and that there’s no sector that pays women more. 

And while senior figures in all industries must take responsibility for ensuring they pay men and women equally, another way of tackling the gender pay gap is for our male colleagues to help confront the issue.

That’s exactly what happened on the upcoming series of Roast Battle, starring comedians Katherine Ryan and Jonathan Ross. In a recent interview, Ryan explained how Ross made sure his female co-star was paid the same as him.  

“When Jonathan joined for the second series he approached me and said ‘How much are you getting paid for this, because I won’t do it if I’m earning more than you’,” she explained in an interview with The Times.

“That’s the first time a man has ever said this. He took the initiative and I really appreciate it.”

Ross’ gesture has gone down well – particularly on social media. “Here’s how men be feminists - with a single question,” said writer Caitlin Moran. 

In recent years, there have been several high-profile instances of the gender pay gap being exposed in the entertainment industry. In 2017, it was announced that only a third of the BBC’s top earners were women, and early in 2018, actress Emma Thompson revealed that she was “always” paid less than her male counterparts, suggesting that publishing salaries is the way forward.

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

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

All-female band Haim had one solution for tackling the pay gap – firing their agent after finding out they’d been paid a tenth of the amount of a male counterpart at a festival.

“It’s scary out there and [messed] up not even to be paid half the same amount. But to be paid a tenth of that amount of money? It was insane,” said lead singer Danielle.

“We had been told that our fee was very low because you played at the festival in the hope you’d get played on the radio. We didn’t think twice about it, but we later found out that someone was getting paid 10 times more than us.”

Thandie Newton, who believes we should “disrupt” the pay gap

And actress Thandie Newton believes that being “disruptive” is the way forward when it comes to closing that pay gap.

“Every year I go into a new production or a new season of Westworld and I don’t think to ask for more, I just feel so grateful to be working. But we need to expect more for ourselves.

“We need pressure, we need to disrupt, it’s part of change and growth,” she said in 2018.

Unsure about what to do if you discover your company has a gender pay gap problem? Check out this advice from the female politicians behind the #PayMeToo campaign.

Images: Getty