Patricia Arquette garnered critical acclaim and condemnation when she demanded equal pay for women during her acceptance speech at this year's Academy Awards, not least because backstage, after her speech, she elaborated by stating that "it's time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now", as if A) they haven't been all along and B) women can't also be gay and/or not white.
Arquette elaborated on these comments in a speech at a UN event on March 10th, to launch its Planet 50-50 By 2030 initiative, which calls for international gender equality within the next 15 years. Here's the outtake from Arquette's speech, where she gives some clarity to her comments from the Academy Awards, by discussing her own background and providing some (pretty harrowing) statistics about what women of colour earn compared to their male counterparts (as low as 44 cents in the dollar):
"People have asked me why I'm doing this, and it's true, today I'm blessed, having some material success, for which I'm extremely grateful. But I have other truths, too. If I were to tell you as a child, there were times where I lived below the poverty line, literally not having shoes to wear that fit me, that would also be true. If I told you that I was a single mother at 20, and lived with my baby in a converted garage, and that I would worry about my baby's nutrition while nursing, because I could only afford to eat macaroni and cheese mixed with water for a week so I could afford diapers, that would also be true."
"So let's be honest: We have in place fair-pay laws that are not ensuring fair pay to women. The effect of the gender gap is most oppressive for women of color. In the United States, Latina women working full-time are taking home 56 cents to every dollar earned by her male, white co-workers. In California, which is the seventh-largest economy in the whole world, that number dropped last year to 44 cents on the dollar. African-American women earn just 64 cents. White American women may now average 78 cents on the dollar."
"Countless lesbian women and women in the transgender community also suffer wage penalties that hurt them and their families. And the women in our transgender community are suffering even more; most are not even able to get a job."
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