Gina Rodriguez criticised after saying Black women "get paid more" than Asian and Latina women

24 November 2018, 14:03 | Updated: 25 November 2018, 22:28

Gina Rodriguez equal pay comments
Picture: Steve Granitz/Getty/Net-a-Porter screenshot
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

The 'Jane The Virgin' star discussed equal pay during a roundtable with Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pompeo, and Emma Roberts. Many on social media took issue with the actress' take.

Following Net-a-Porter’s “Big Television Debate” with four of TVs brightest stars, Jane The Virgin actress, Gina Rodriguez, is being criticised online for her comments on equal pay. She joined Emma Roberts, Gabrielle Union, and Ellen Pompeo to discuss the issues that women and POC face in Hollywood.

It's Gina's comparison of pay between women of colour that is being widely circulated on social media.

At around the 1 minute mark, Gina began opening up about her feelings on the intersectional aspect of the gender pay gap.

“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay. Especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it. Where white women get paid more than black women. Black women get paid more than Asian women. And Asian women get paid more than Latina women.”

Gina’s comments were criticised and many brought up situations where the Jane The Virgin star weighed in on key issues important to black women.

Notably, a tweet where she agreed with the suggestion that there should be “a Latina version of Girls Trip”. One of the groundbreaking things about the film was that it was an all black main cast that performed extraordinarily well at the box office. At the time, Girls Trip was being heavily praised for this accomplishment.

People have also made reference to a video of Gina Rodriguez and Yara Shahidi promoting Small Foot earlier this year.

In the video, Yara is asked what it is like to be a role model for black women. During the question, Gina chimes in to suggest Yara is a role model for “all women”.

While Yara is a role model for all women, the context of her success as a black woman should not be ignored or glossed over.

The internet’s reaction is a mix of frustration and memes (which is just the internet’s energy, generally)

Aside from the memes, many have also pointed out that the highest paid actress on TV for the seventh straight year is Colombian-American actress Sofia Vergara for her role on Modern Family.

It is likely that Gina was discussing general pay gap statistics and not Hollywood statistics. According to AAUW, Latina women made 53% of white men's earnings in 2017 and Black women made 61% of that. Gina's assertion that Black women made more than Asian women is incorrect, however, as the numbers show Asian women making 85% of white male earnings.

Truthfully, the pay and wealth gap in these industries do need to be discussed and deconstructed further. Focusing on the structures that perpetuate inequality, rather than other marginalised groups is a far more constructive way to talk about the issue.