Visible Women

How Emma Thompson showed her support for women everywhere while becoming a dame

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Susan Devaney
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Emma Thompson is now Dame Emma – and she accepted her new title in style.

From calling on Boris Johnson to release a British woman jailed in Iran to condemning Harvey Weinstein and shutting down toxic body image comments made towards women on film sets, Emma Thompson has always used her platform to fight for women’s rights.

So it comes as no surprise that the actress used her moment at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday 7 November to show support for women everywhere – by wearing a badge calling for equal pay.

The actress showcased the Fawcett Society badge as she collected a damehood for services to drama.

After the ceremony, Thompson referred to herself as a “card-carrying feminist” and “human rights activist”, saying that she wanted to take the moment to highlight that as many as three million children in Britain will go hungry during the school holidays this year.

Emma Thompson has officially been made a Dame, after a ceremony at Buckingham Palace

In the past, the Oscar-winning actress has spoken passionately about issues relating to gender equality. In 2016, she penned a letter to The Guardian stating that she was backing the Women’s Equality Party in that year’s local elections, “because I have met and talked with them and a more committed, bright, inspiring bunch of women with fantastic ideas I have never found.”

Earlier this year, Thompson also welcomed legislation that forced all companies with 250 employees or more to publish their gender pay gap.

“Publishing figures is the first step,” she said in July

“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.”

Thompson added that she had “always” been “paid less than my male counterparts” on films.  

New data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that the gender pay gap for full-time workers in the UK fell to 8.6% in the year leading to April 2018. That represents a drop of 0.5% from the previous 12 months – and the smallest median difference in full-time hourly pay for men and women that we’ve ever seen in the UK.

However, when we look at the gender pay gap for full-time and part-time roles, the discrepancy widens dramatically to 17.9%. 

And if the gap continues closing at its current rate, the TUC (Trades Union Congress) has warned it will take another 55 years for men and women to be paid the same average hourly wage in the UK.

You can read more on the gender pay gap here

Stylist’s Visible Women campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of women who’ve made a difference, celebrating their success, and empowering future generations to follow their lead. See more from Visible Women here.  

Images: Getty Images

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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