LAS VEGAS (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — Oprah Winfrey says that the conversation about the gender pay gap has “hit a critical” moment.
The television titan appeared on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday and discussed the essay Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence wrote about blaming herself for failing as a negotiator to fight for millions of more dollars that her male co-stars got in “American Hustle.”
Winfrey called Lawrence “brave” for speaking out, but more needs to be done about the disparity in the gender pay gap.
“I don’t think it’s changing,” Winfrey said. “I think the conversation has hit a critical moment.”
She described to “CBS This Morning” how in 1985 she tried to get her female producers raises.
“I went in and I said, ‘Everybody needs raises,’ and management at the time said, ‘Why do they need raises? Why do a bunch of girls need raises. They’re not married, they don’t have children, they don’t own their own houses’ … this is 1985 in Chicago,” Winfrey told “CBS This Morning.”
She also told of her experience working for a Baltimore station telling her boss that a male co-worker was making more than her and that she wanted a raise.
“And my boss said at the time, ‘Do you have children?’” Winfrey recalled.
Lawrence wrote in an essay for the online newsletter Lenny on Tuesday that she didn’t want to fight for millions of dollars, partly because she didn’t need the money and partly because she didn’t want to come across as “difficult” or “spoiled.”
“But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’ At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’ This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue,” she wrote.
In the thoughtful essay, Lawrence wonders if she’s wasted her time trying to be likable while her male counterparts are commended for being fierce. She ultimately concludes that she’s “over” finding adorable ways to state her opinion.
Lenny is a recently launched weekly newsletter from Lena Dunham and her “Girls” executive producer Jenni Konner.
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