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Michelle Williams Speaks Out About Pay Equality in Emmy Speech

The 2019 Emmys were full of stars and affirmations but one speech stood out for its passionate and convicted stance. Michelle Williams accepted an Emmy for best actress in a limited series or TV movie for playing Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon, which airs on FX.

Williams used her time on stage to speak out about pay equality for women of color, explaining that they make 52 cents on the dollar compared to their male, white co-stars. She urged Hollywood to listen to and believe women of color when they ask for what they need to do their jobs. Her speech ended with a plea to create a new environment in which women of color would succeed because, and not in spite of, their work environment.

Women of Color Get Unequal Pay

Williams continues a line of discourse she began in 2018, when the news about the pay gap between herself and co-star Mark Wahlberg for starring in the movie “All the Money in the World”. The gender pay discrepancy is outpaced by a gap in wages between white performers and performers of color. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research explains gender and racial wage gaps as they were measured in 2018:

  • In 2017, men earned 19.5% more than women
  • White men earn 34.7% more than black women
  • Hispanic women have a lower weekly earning rate than white, black and Asian female workers

According to the National Women’s Law Center, the pay gap for women of color is increasing. Between 2016 and 2017, black women are now paid two cents less than they used to be for every dollar a white man makes.

The center estimates that, over the course of a career, this wage gap will account for a $946,120 loss for the average black female worker, or a $23,653 annual loss. This is even worse in some states and cities. In Washington D.C., allegedly the heart of our bureaucracy, the average black female only makes fifty cents on the dollar compared to a white male. More than ever, advocacy from visible figures like Michelle Williams is needed to apply pressure to the executives who perpetuate this harmful condition.

How Women of Color Can Get Paid More

At Move the Crowd, we believe in getting paid. One of our three primary messages is to get paid. There are barriers in the way of you making the right money.

First: you need to make peace with making money. You may wonder: 

Is it possible to be spiritual and profitable? Can I make money AND make a difference? Can I care about my community AND be ambitious? Is it wrong to want MORE?

If you have lived with these thoughts, listen up: The challenges we face around money run deeper than just a lack of financial competency, they often stem from legacies of poverty, shame and guilt about our current circumstances or the places we’ve come from. As our world grapples with the ever widening gap between “the haves” and “have nots”, many of us struggle with the moral dilemma of making money while also wanting to make a difference.

Whether we have privilege or not, there is a moral dilemma we grapple with if we are passionate about making a difference in the world and being part of the solution versus part of the problem.  And, finally, there is the question of worthiness; who am I to deserve more?

Women Deserve to Earn Good Money

Rha Goddess, CEO of Move the Crowd and author of The Calling, describes her journey with money: I remember my first “come to Jesus” moment around money. It was about just over 13 years ago when I looked up, and decided that enough was enough.  I was working in the non-profit industrial complex after turning my back on the corporate industrial complex. It was the perfect breeding ground for a poverty based mentality.  My wake up call came about when a major grant that had been promised to us fell through, and I was forced to scramble to raise the funds to keep the boat afloat. I knew the hustle, because it was the same hustle I’d been doing every month to pay the rent as a struggling artist.    As the quicksand began to engulf me, I had this horrible realization that no matter how hard I worked, the situation was never going to change because I was operating with flawed thinking. And until I addressed my mindset, the cycle of struggle continued.

Change Your Mindset About Money

How you feel about your right to earn money is intertwined with self-awareness and alignment. Success on your own terms is what we are all about at Move the Crowd. We believe in the empowerment that lets you define your purpose. Here are three ways to eliminate the mental clutter and begin experiencing financial prosperity:

  1. Explore your doubts about worthiness, guilt, and poverty shame to understand how it impacts financial decisions
  2. Shift your internal dialogue about wealth to improve your ability to serve
  3. Create a new definition of success that’s aligned with your passions and values

If you find yourself in a cycle where you can’t make money, where you don’t feel the permission to move ahead, or where you need guidance to get in alignment with your calling, Move the Crowd has a vibrant community that can help. Here are some ways to access the messaging and coaching that has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs move into their purpose and learn how to get paid:


CLICK TO Pre-order The Calling and join the Insider’s Club, where you will gain access to a community and numerous digital resources, including direct access to thought influencers, hot Q & A sessions and Facebook encounters with Rha herself.

CLICK TO Book a consultation and find out where you fit into the Move the Crowd community and how we can help you move into your purpose. It’s going to take the collective effort of powerful women to eliminate the wage gap. Let’s move in the right direction… together!      

Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “The Gender Wage Gap: 2018.” March 2019. Accessed September 23, 2019.
National Partnership for Women and Families. “Black Women and the Wage Gap.” April 2019. Accessed September 23, 2019.
Rossie Barroso, Amanda. “The Wage Gap for Women of Color Widened in 2017.” National Women’s Law Center, September 17, 2018. Accessed September 23, 2019.

Resources to get you started.

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