With the dust now settling on last night’s 87th Academy Awards ceremony, it’s – rightfully – not just the dresses that has everyone talking this morning, but rather Patricia Arquette’s moving acceptance speech in which she called for equal pay – and rights – for women.
The Best Supporting Actress winner’s speech started off in much the same way as many others, as she thanked her peers and co-workers, but it concluded with a rousing call to action to fight for equal pay for women.
Arquette said: 'To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.'
Arquette’s impassioned acceptance speech follows on from last year’s damning revelations that Oscar-winning Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams both earned less than their male co-stars in American Hustle, highlighting that there's still a huge gap between men and women's pay in Hollywood.
The gender pay gap is a subject close to our hearts at ELLE and one that we’ve been tirelessly championing since the launch of our award-winning Make Them Pay campaign as part of our Rebranding Feminism issue. Formulated with advertising agency Mother, we’ve been encouraging women to ask male colleagues of the same level what they earned – and lobby employers to sign up to the government's Think, Act, Report initiative. In December, we started to make headway with this when Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham put it on the parliamentary agenda when she tabled a ‘Ten Minute Rule Bill’ to enact section 78 of the Equality Act (2010), which requires companies that employ more than 250 people to publish their gender pay gap figures. Although no details of the actual bill were discussed, the motion to debate the bill was passed, and it could become law in a matter of months.
Another win for feminism last night came courtesy of Reese Witherspoon who supported the #AskHerMore campaign on social media, which implores reporters on the red carpet to ask women about something other than simply what they’re wearing.
Witherspoon – who was nominated in the Best Actress category this year – posted an image on Instagram prior to the ceremony with the caption: ‘❤ this movement #AskHerMore… have you heard of it? It's meant to inspire reporters to ask creative questions on the red carpet. I love the Oscars AND fashion like many of you – & am excited to share #WhoAmIWearing later tonight. (not yet!!) But I'd also love to answer some of these Qs… And hear your suggestions?! (Share em below!) There are so many amazing, talented nominees this year! Let's hear their stories! Spread the word. #AskHerMore #Oscars #Countdown’.
WATCH PATRICIA ARQUETTE’S SPEECH:
Make a noise – tweet @ELLEUK #MakeThemPay – and get behind our ELLE Feminism campaign here.