Michelle Williams’ acceptance speech at the Emmys has been labelled “the best speech ever” and one that “every boss everywhere should watch”.
Williams won the Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role as Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon and gave a passionate acceptance speech that received a standing ovation from her peers.
In the now trending speech, Michelle made an impassioned plea for pay equity across the entertainment industry, calling for female employees to be paid a fair and equal wage.
She also pointed out the discrepancy between how caucasian actresses are treated, both on set and in their paycheck, compared to how performers of colour, specifically black actresses, are treated.
Williams’ speech comes on the heels of last week’s #NotWorthLess movement, which saw women writers, producers and assistants across Twitter share their own stories of pay inequality in the entertainment business.
Screenwriter Adele Lim sparked the movement after she left the “Crazy Rich Asians” sequel in protest of being paid less than her male co-writer.
During her acceptance speech, the “Fosse/Verdon” star said:
I see this as an acknowledgement of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feels safe enough to voice them, and respected enough that they’ll be heard.
When I asked for my dance classes, I heard ‘yes.’ When I asked for more voice lessons, I heard ‘yes.’ A different wig, a pair of teeth not made out of rubber, ‘yes.’ All these things, they require effort and they cost more money, but my bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed to do my job and to honour Gwen Verdon.
Thank you FX and to Fox 21 Studios for supporting me completely and paying me equally.
The next time a woman — and especially a woman of colour, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterparts — tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her, because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.