How Your Business Should React to Patricia Arquette's Oscar Speech

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In case you missed the 2015 Academy Awards this past Sunday, a quick Google search will recap that many of this year's winners dedicated their 30-second winner's speech to societal issues that transcend Hollywood and its cinema. As Patricia Arquette began her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in the blockbuster Boyhood, it seemed to follow a fairly generic and safe pattern. But in her final few seconds, she exclaimed the following with the utmost vigor:

"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 our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for every woman in the United States of America!"

While the US workforce has seen progress to end gender discrimination over the past few decades, the reality remains that women are being paid less than their male counterparts across the board. While Arquette's fame has sparked the conversation, her statement is not without merit. Companies should take the time to learn about this issue and make real changes accordingly.

The Facts

1) Women make $0.84 for every $1.00 a man makes.

2) Mothers face more career interruptions than fathers. In order to tend to a sick child or family member:

- 42% of mothers versus 28% of fathers reported they reduced their work hours
- 39% of mothers versus 24% of fathers reported taking a significant amount of time off from work
- 27% of mothers versus 10% of fathers quit their jobs
- 13% of mothers versus 10% of fathers turned down a promotion.

3) 18% of women have reported gender discrimination at work. 10% of men have reported the same.

4) Wage inequality is far worse for women of color. In 2013, African American women were paid 64% of what white men earned whereas white women earned 78% of what white men earned.

  • What You Can Do

    Empower Your Female Employees: Invest in the women that work for your company by providing them the resources and support they need. Fund their professional development or provide them with mentors for guidance.

    Analyze Your Internal Numbers: Take the time to map out how you pay your employees and remedy any accidental wage discrimination.

    Provide Benefits: Review your policies around healthcare, paid sick leave, and maternity and paternity leave and see where you can make changes to help your employees lead better lives.

    Watch Patricia Arquette's full acceptance speech here:

    (Sources: Pew Research Center, AAUW)"

Hiba Haider

Hiba Haider


Hiba is an expert product marketer with a background in inbound and digital marketing. She writes about recruiting, HR laws, and how to build a great culture and is a proud Babson alumna.

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