While at the New York premiere of the second season of the successful sci-fi thriller, Newton had a lot to say about the new contracts. “It’s really exciting. It’s unprecedented. It’s — goodness; it shatters so much calcified pain, resentment, frustration. It just shatters it,” the actress told Vanity Fair. When equal pay appears in the news cycle, it’s usually because a woman found out that yet again she is unfairly paid less than her male counterparts. To see news of women’s work and contributions respected equally is a breath of fresh air.
Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy also told Vanity Fair that equal pay has been something they have been wanting and advocating for for some time now. Now, with HBO’s support, they have been able to make that happen. “If you work 16 hours and you’re a woman, it’s the same 16 hours that you work if you’re a man. So it just all makes sense to me. It’s as it should be,” said co-star Jeffrey Wright.
It is inspiring to see the immediate courage and confidence that equal pay inspires in women. Newton has vowed to turn down projects that do not pay her the same as her male co-stars. Wood expressed optimism that other companies would follow HBO’s example, leading to more equal pay opportunities. To feel supported is one of the greatest instigators of meaningful and lasting change. With the promise of equal pay, women can feel confident in speaking up for themselves because their worth has been recognised on a large scale.
This is what can happen when the show’s creators, the network, and the entire cast support equal pay. Unwavering support translates into meaningful results. This instance tells us something that we already know — individual people can support an idea for years, but until companies get behind them and agree to realise that idea, it is just people advocating for what we should be doing.
Westworld has shown us the future, and I’m not talking about the android-populated one at a technologically advanced Wild West amusement park.
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