3 money lessons women can learn from Hollywood moms, Mo'Nique and Catt Sadler

Unless you live under a rock or are dangerously naive, you are aware that we have a huge gender wage gap. In 2016, women working full-time in the United States were paid 80% of what men were paid.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW), the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls, conducted an in-depth research study and produced "The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap" report. 

The impact of the pay gap has intensified over the years as more mothers take on the breadwinner role in the family. According to the report, 42 percent of U.S. mothers are primary breadwinners.  Which means that men, girls, boys, everyone are negatively impacted by the wage gap. And it is in everyone's best interest to create a society where women are paid equally and mothers are fully supported in the workplace.  

Taboo Topics in Business is a popular event series I co-lead with gender equity consultant Emily Howe.    Wanna join and be a part of the solution? Click the image to RSVP to our next event.

Taboo Topics in Business is a popular event series I co-lead with gender equity consultant Emily Howe. Wanna join and be a part of the solution? Click the image to RSVP to our next event.

To further exacerbate the problem, moms are financially penalized for being moms.  When stay-at-home and part-time working mothers decide to return to the full-time workforce, many encounter a “motherhood penalty”. Studies show that employers are less likely to hire mothers compared with childfree women, and when employers do make an offer to a mother, they offer her a lower salary than they do other women (Correll & Benard, 2007; Kricheli-Katz, 2012). In contrast, many fathers actually receive higher wages after having a child, known as the “fatherhood bonus” (Killewald, 2013; Budig, 2014).

Hollywood Moms, Catt & Mo'Nique

The wage gap crisis is grabbing more media attention as women from the tech industry to Hollywood are finding their voice to stand up against injustice.

In December of 2017, Catt Sadler announced that she was leaving E! News after working there for over a decade. Her reason for leaving? On her blog, she wrote that it was because she was earning less than half of what her male co-host earned. A co-host who started at the same time, held the same work responsibilities and has the same public profile. How did Catt know about the pay discrepancy?

A year prior in 2016, a female colleague had informed Catt in confidence that Catt was being severely underpaid. This was after Catt had been given a significant increase in work responsibilities. She took the next year to work her ass off (note- she had already worked her ass off for over a decade) and when it came time for negotiations, she felt assured that the network would "do the right thing".

Well, apparently the "right thing to do" from the network's perspective was to not offer Catt a raise. So, what did Catt do? Catt Walked.

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Mo'Nique faced a similar egregious situation. She was offered a deal from Netflix. Netflix had previously offered Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle $20 million, each. 

Amy Schumer was originally offered $11 million for her Netflix deal. Amy shares the same agent as Chris and Dave, and her agent asked for an increase in Amy's offer. They settled on $13 million.

What was Mo'Nique offered?


After Mo'Nique shared this publicly, Wanda Sykes spoke up and said she had been offered less than half of what Mo'Nique was offered.

My Two Cents

I'm not interested in opinions- mine included.  I'm interested in dollars.

In case I was not clear above, Catt Sadler's workload doubled and she was paid less than half.

Amy was originally offered 55% of the dudes' deals, before her agent renegotiated for 65% (btw, Amy is still the only female comedian to make the Forbes' highest paid comedians list- which you can read here.)

Mo'Nique was offered 2.5% of Chris and Dave's deal. Should Amy and Mo'Nique earn as much as Chris and Dave? No. But, can we get close?

My calculations show that Catt is earning fifty cents on the dollar. Amy is earning sixty-five cents. And Mo'Nique is earning two cents.

Two cents on the muthafuckin dollar.

What you can learn from this

Women will not experience equality until we achieve parity. Money is power and as long as there is an unfair distribution of wealth, #metoo situations will continue to exist and the fabric of our families and communities will continue to erode. 

As women, here are three things you can learn from Mo'Nique and Catt Sadler to take back your power and elevate your financial status.

  1. Talk about money with your girlfriends. The only way we can start to close this gap is by openly talking about money with each other. In the Money & Mimosas community, members are encouraged to share how much they charge and insights on how they negotiate deals. The more you talk about money, the more confident you will feel in owning your worth. Not sure where to start? Click here for tips on how to talk money with your girls.

  2. Be prepared to do the Cattwalk. In Catt's interview on The View, she said that she boosted her savings account in case she decided to leave her job. Every woman needs to have F U Money, whether it's to leave a shitty job or a shitty lover. Get into the practice of always setting aside money from your paycheck to keep for yourself. It's the best form of self-love.

  3. Maintain multiple revenue streams. If you are working a traditional corporate job, pick up a side hustle. If you have a small business, maintain multiple revenue streams. Options are the key to financial independence.

What's your two cents? Let me know in the comments below.

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