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The Fight for Advancing Pay Equity in Hollywood

Written by EmilyJohnson

In the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, where dreams are spun into reality and stories come to life, there’s a narrative that often goes untold: the story of pay inequality within the Costume Designers Guild (CDG), Local 892 International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Behind the scenes, amidst the hustle and bustle of film sets, the creative brilliance of costume designers, assistant costume designers, and costume illustrators shapes the visual tapestry of our favorite movies and TV shows. Yet, despite their indispensable contributions, they find themselves at the mercy of a gender wage gap that’s as glaring as it is unjust.

At the heart of the matter lies a stark statistic: 87% of CDG members identify as women. Yet, when it comes to compensation, their male counterparts earn up to 45% more—a sobering reminder of the systemic inequities that persist within the entertainment industry. Costume designers earn almost $1,000 less per week than production designers, their closest creative peers.

But the tide is turning. The CDG’s Pay Equity Now campaign has gained nationwide support, with civil rights organizations, advocacy groups, and industry luminaries rallying behind their cause. From the National Organization for Women to the Feminist Majority Foundation, from Rosanna Arquette to Mira Sorvino, the chorus of voices demanding change grows louder by the day, with Equal Rights Advocates co-leading the charge.

As negotiations between IATSE and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) intensify, there’s a palpable sense of urgency in the air—a shared determination to right the wrongs of the past and forge a path toward a more equitable future. The recent success of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) contract negotiations serves as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that when we come together in solidarity, meaningful change is within reach.

But our work is far from over. As advocates for justice and equality, Equal Rights Advocates remains steadfast in our commitment to the CDG’s fight for fair and equitable pay. We must hold industry leaders accountable, ensuring that their promises of inclusivity are backed by concrete action.

It’s time to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all and ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, is compensated fairly for their contributions. Let’s stand in solidarity with the Costume Designers Guild and pave the way for a future where pay equity isn’t just a dream, but a reality.