Pay disparity is a harsh reality for women across sectors. 

Women want equal pay for equal work but it seems like a distant possibility for many and the world of Bollywood, it seems, is no different. 

Recently, actor Tapsee Pannu spoke about this existing disparity. You would think a top rated actor like her wouldn’t face any discrimination, right? Wrong. Here’s what she, along with many other celebs, have had to say about this rather disturbing reality. 

Taapsee Pannu

If it would have been a man in that position who would have asked for that much amount, people would have said, ‘Iski market badh gayi hai’. That guy has really achieved big success in life.’ It’s because a woman who is asking for it she is called out to be ‘difficult’ or ‘too demanding’. It’s always like that. You will always read about this issue about hike in salary when it comes to women. But why not? She is one of the biggest female superstars we have in the country. If she commands a certain salary for her time, it’s her job. Do you think any other mythological characters that are played by men, do you think they do it for free? I don’t think so. 

Sonam Kapoor

While in conversation with Mid-Day, Sonam spoke about how the pay gap was ridiculous but it was easy for her, because she enjoyed privileges that many don’t.

The pay gap is ridiculous. I can stand up to it, but then I don’t get those roles, and I’m okay with that. I can afford to do that. I realised over the past two or three years that I have no right to judge anybody. I’m privileged, so making difficult choices isn’t really f**king difficult.

Deepika Padukone 

Deepika Padukone, who would currently be one of the top actors in the industry also spoke about how it is no different for her, and how she had to drop out of a film because her male co-star was being more than her.

I know my track record and what I’m worth. I know that my co-actor’s films haven’t been doing well as my films have been doing. It made absolutely no sense. I was okay to say no to that film based on that one thing as I thought it was unfair.

Reportedly, she even lost a project because she had demanded an equal fee as her husband and co-actor, Ranveer Singh, who was also said to be a part of the same movie. It is for this reason that she apparently backed down from Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Baiju Bawra

Anushka Sharma

We know Anushka to be the one who doesn’t hold back even for matters such as these. So it was only obvious that she’d voice her concerns regarding the same while hitting everyone with some alarming facts. 

In my industry, we women get paid about ¼ of the salary of our male counterparts. Imagine, our expenditure on dresses and accessories is almost 40% of our income. Yet we are given a standard citizen’s exemption limit. 

Aditi Rao Hydari 

In conversation with PTI, Aditi mentioned she doesn’t understand why women get paid less than male actors even though they work just as hard. And, we agree with her at all levels. 

I don’t really understand why we are paid less than the male actors because we put equal efforts and recent past has shown that actresses can deliver a hit film. We deserve better pay, equal to what actors get

Kangana Ranaut 

Kareena Kapoor Khan was recently in news for having quoted a certain amount for a film.  But why can’t she? Isn’t negotiating salary your basic right as a worker? 

My male counterparts are paid thrice the amount. No one can guarantee the success of a film so why such discrimination? I don’t do one scene or one item song in a film. I can only speak for myself and I am commanding a certain amount of money, but I still think I am underpaid. 

Katrina Kaif 

Katrina talked about the difference in treatment given to male-dominated movies versus female-dominated movies. She added how the latter will turn out to be if they are treated with the same stature and budget. 

My argument to that is, which I discuss with a lot of producers I’m close to and have worked with, give the female-dominated films, with maybe one or two female leads, the same budget and mounting that you are giving to the male stars or the combination of a male and a female star. Give that to a female film and see what happens then. 

Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Priyanka who has made her mark in both Bollywood and Hollywood has suffered at the hands of pay disparity. Shocking? Not really. During an interview with BBC, she said,

I don‘t like the fact that I get paid much less than the boys. I don‘t like the fact that the disparity is so massive.

Sonakshi Sinha 

Sonakshi pointed out the fact that even in today’s time when we’re moving towards a more welcoming industry, there are many strides the industry will have to make.

The only thing I can think of changing in Bollywood right now is the pay disparity because we’re working in this day and age where films revolving around women are being made.

Swara Bhaskar 

Swara who is not known to mince her words, also expressed her displeasure at the gross inequality that women face within the industry. 

I am not saying that if I, being a female actor, work for 10 days, I should expect the pay that an actor gets for 100 days of work. But definitely, if I am working for 100 days, then I am expected to get an equal amount of pay as my male counterpart.”

Shah Rukh Khan 

Not just women, actors like Shah Rukh Khan have also spoken up against the discrimination.

In the past too, I have made my stance on equality of genders clear. I strongly believe dues meted out should be according to merit and not gender. Both genders have their own plus and minus points, though I love the women who make work so beautiful.

Shabana Azmi 

While promoting one of her films, Shabana expressed her thoughts on the same stating people need to do more to fight the issue. It just won’t end at adding a female lead’s name before the male lead’s name. Concerete measures should be taken. 

It’s existing only because it’s the male star who brings the bucks in the box office. No matter what you do, the female-oriented films get much less money with limited reach due to which the budgets have to be controlled.

She also added that: 

Shah Rukh Khan made a commendable gesture when he said that Deepika Padukone’s name will come before his, which is lovely but he needs to go beyond that. 

No one is asking for more money. Everyone deserves equal pay for equal work and be compensated well, irrespective of their gender.