The industry I have spent my life in is full of trailblazers and dinosaurs in equal quantities. The entertainment industry is still mired in archaic thinking in many areas where the rest of society has moved on.
It is a no-brainer that equal work should attract equal pay regardless of gender, hair colour, sexual orientation or what footy team you barrack for. What many of the stories fail to highlight, though, is the definition of equal work. Just because you get up at the same time, work in the same studio and are part of the same program does not necessarily mean you are equally responsible for the success of the program.
Television and radio programs are a bit like football teams – some players are more valuable than others in the overall picture. That is just a fact. Should Nathan Broad get the same money as his premiership teammate Dustin Martin? We all know Dusty gets more than anyone at Tigerland.
In some professions, it is easier to quantify the contribution. Others not so cut and dried. The media is a different beast and should be treated accordingly.
As a philosophy for the future though, there should be no gender disparity, as I also believe there should be no gender quota. Give the best person the job and pay them accordingly.
Talented, hard-working women are wasting too much of their valuable time fighting for something that should be the status quo. The treatment of women is another area where the entertainment industry has been shamed recently and rightly so. The abuse of power is criminal and will be judged that way, as it should be.
Don’t think this is just an entertainment industry problem, because it isn’t. No form of sexual harassment is to be tolerated. The full extent of this is evolving, and the online “me too” campaign is gaining momentum.
I think the next area to gain attention will be workplace bullying.
The workplace should be a place of mutual respect, equality, and safety – no amount of pay compensates if it isn’t. ■