The actress says she was in a position where she ‘could put her foot down’.
Charlize Theron has shared her experience of demanding equal pay to a male co-star, and admitted that she had previously been conditioned to be ‘so polite’ when it came to asking for what she deserved.
The 42-year-old Oscar-winning actress was celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and discussing issues relating to the icon’s legacy, which included equal rights and feminism.
On the topic of gender equality, the Mad Max star recalled demanding that she was paid the same as her co-star, Chris Hemsworth, in The Huntsman: Winter’s War in 2016.
I am in a position where I could put my foot down and say, I want equal pay to my male co-star, who I had billed another movie with. Theron explained during the conversation at Westwood’s Geffen (via The Hollywood Reporter).
She admitted she was surprised that the studio immediately agreed, and said women should ‘not be so polite’ when asking for more.
‘We were doing a sequel, we had done it together, why not? What was interesting about it have I had a studio that said all right,’ she said. ‘And I was like, “oh? We just need to say this? We just need to not be so polite about it and say what we want”.’
But Theron also acknowledged that as an established Hollywood star and Academy Award-winner, she was in a stronger position than most to secure equal pay.
‘I felt lucky,’ she went on, before taking it back and concluding: ‘No, I didn’t feel lucky. I deserved that and I asked for it.’
Theron also ruminated that the #MeToo movement is capable of creating parity in all workplaces if women continue to support and embolden others to speak out about harassment and inequality.
‘The amount of traction and the number of women who are being empowered by other women to step forward and actually speak their truth, I know in my life I’ve never seen anything like that,’ she said.
‘I think success for us as women is going to come out of the support that we give each other, out of not stopping this moment.
‘This is a rock rolling down a mountain really fast, and I’m quite enjoying watching it.’
BY NAOMI GORDON
This article originally appeared on elle.com