Scarlett Johansson: talking about the Hollywood gender wage gap is 'icky'

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson has become the latest female actor to discuss her thoughts on the Hollywood gender pay gap but believes the conversation needs to be given a broader context.

Promoting her roles in both The Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War, the actor told Cosmopolitan why the discussion can make her feel uncomfortable.

“There’s something icky about me having that conversation unless it applies to a greater whole,” she said. “I am very fortunate, I make a really good living, and I’m proud to be an actress who’s making as much as many of my male peers at this stage.”

Johansson is one of the industry’s highest paid actors, with a rumoured paycheck of $17.5m (£12.4m) for her role in the upcoming action thriller Ghost in the Shell. She worries that her status makes it difficult for her to speak out against pay inequality.

“I think every woman has [been underpaid], but unless I’m addressing it as a larger problem, for me to talk about my own personal experience with it feels a little obnoxious,” she said. “It’s part of a larger conversation about feminism in general.”

Her comments echo those of Jennifer Lawrence, who raised a similar point in her emotive letter about the issue for Lena Dunham’s newsletter Lenny. “It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable,” Lawrence wrote.

It is estimated that women in media roles earn 85% of what their male counterparts take home, and that female stars tend to see their earnings drop after the age of 34 while men see a change after 51.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Benjamin Lee, for theguardian.com on Friday 8th April 2016 10.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010