Holding her first Oscar, Patricia Arquette leaned into the microphone. Her arms waved the paper with her notes on it. Passionately, she dedicated her speech to the women who "gave birth to every citizen and taxpayer of this nation."
"We have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America," Arquette said.
Actresses want to be paid for the work they do. In Hollywood, as well as in America, women are not paid equally for the work they do. The top 10 highest-paid actors from 2013 made a collective $465 million dollars. The top 10 highest-paid actresses made $181 million. The highest-paid actress, Angelina Jolie with $33 million, made the same amount of money as the ninth and 10th highest-paid men, Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington.
Her speech ended with Meryl Streep (a fellow nominee in the Best Supporting Actress category) sitting up in her chair to clap with her hands over her head. Next to her, Jennifer Lopez clapped enthusiastically. Behind that enthusiasm are decades of frustration with a system that has paid women less for decades of brilliant work.