This Trailblazing Oscar Winner Argues Why You Must Ask Male Co-Workers What Their Salaries Are

An equal rights pioneer in Hollywood tells VH1 why and how you need to start these conversations for your sake, your daughters, granddaughters and this country.

Whether you want to believe it or not, we are not equal.

Literally. Women do not have equal rights under the US Constitution as men. In this country, white women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. Black women earn 63 cents per male dollar. Latina woman earn 43 cents per male dollar.

In a groundbreaking Oscar acceptance speech last year, Patricia Arquette risked her entire career to fight for changing these numbers. Her plan was calculated. At Vanity Fair Social Club’s pre-Oscars panel in LA on Friday, the Oscar winner said she told her family she knew her risky maneuver would cost her jobs. But she didn’t care. “I’m cool with that,” she said. “I’m old enough, I’m good. Let’s do this thing.”

In case you’re unfamiliar, revisit Patricia’s incredibly moving, badass acceptance speech at the 2015 Oscars when she took the gold for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood:

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