Watch Patricia Arquette’s Powerful Oscars Speech Advocating Wage Equality for Women
Oscar winner Patricia Arquette stole the show on Sunday night and received a standing ovation when she used her acceptance speech to champion a greater cause: equal pay for women. The star of Boyhood, which some have joked should be called Motherhood thanks to Arquette’s strong female lead role, advocated for women not just in Hollywood but everywhere in the United States.
“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s rights,” Arquette said on Sunday night. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all—and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
The camera panned to Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, who rose from their seats to cheer and applaud Arquette.
Women earn about 77 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the White House. The Pew Research Center puts that number closer to 84 cents, which means that women have to work an extra 40 days, on average, to earn what men make in any given year. The wage gap is perhaps more apparent in Hollywood, where the highest-paid male actor in 2014, Robert Downey Jr., earned about 25 percent more than the highest-paid female actor, Sandra Bullock, according to Forbes’ annual ranking.
Arquette also used her speech and her red-carpet interview to promote her nonprofit, Givelove.org, which “bring[s] ecological sanitation to the developing world,” she said. Earlier in the night, she critiqued the red-carpet ritual known as the manicure cam, which E! pulled from the red carpet this year amid several actors’ refusal to be photographed by it.