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Study: Female Stars Paid Significantly Less After Age 34

by Maane Khatchatourian
Publication: Variety

February 7, 2014


Like most industries, the movie biz has long been plagued by age and gender biases. But a recent study suggests that when coupled, age and gender discrimination can yield an even more significant wage gap.

According to a study in the Journal of Management Inquiry, actresses in their 20s earn more than their male counterparts, while older actors make more than their female equals.

Female movie stars make the most money on average per film at age 34, while male stars earn the most at 51. And while women’s salaries see a dramatic plunge over time, the dropoff after an earnings peak is much less for men.

One of the study’s authors, Timothy Judge, a management professor at the University of Notre Dame, said there is an appearance premium and penalty applied disproportionately to women.

“While the difference is fairly small, it’s indicative of the other side of the double standard,” Judge told Variety in an email. “Women are evaluated more on their beauty than are men, and if beauty is defined in part by youth, then this rather explains why — in appearance-based occupations — young women are more valued than young men.”

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