Ladies - what do you think - is there a Gender wage gap? Holla Back! We team up with John Florian and the team at VoiceoverExtra.com to bring you this episode. We explore a recent article on their site that addresses this pressing and relevant discussion. Come join the conversation Lady Voices!
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
John Florian from VoiceoverXtra.com approached the Bosses about at article written by Lynne Darlington on June 6th, titled Female VoiceOver Talent Self-Inflict Their Wage Gap – A Client’s Perspective.
VoiceoverXtra has been a reputable news and information source for the voiceover community for many years. Hundreds of voiceover coaches including Anne and Gabby have both contributed articles and content to the site.
The article’s perspective is that female voiceover actors ask for less money and quote lower than their male counterparts.
Women more than men seem to have a problem asking for, addressing and negotiating money.
This may be due in part to the traditions and house-hold dynamics of old.
Many women were raised to believe that making more money than their husband was wrong and insulting.
The perception of non-famous actors is one of poverty – so many voice actors have a bad relationship with their view of money and earnings.
Both genders should educate themselves on salary, wages, compensation, etc. in order to avoid inequality.
Many women accept a ‘tip’ for a job well done – but they don’t demand it from the onset of their pricing.
Women are not in demand in some areas of VO – so the market sets the tone for this gap. It’s not really something we can control.
To join the conversation read the article and comment or email email@example.com
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Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Read the Article: Female Voiceover Talent Self-Inflict Their Own Wage Gap
Read the Followup Article
Recorded on ipDTL
Full Episode Transcript
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Anne: Hey everybody, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my bestie-bosstie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.
Anne: So Gabby, John Florian from VoiceOverXtra reached out to me the other day.
Gabby: I love John.
Anne: Isn’t he the best?
Gabby: Oh my God, I’ve known John for some many years.
Anne: I know, me too.
Gabby: He’s such a cutie, and he’s such a sweetheart, and yeah, for those of you who don’t know, so he runs VoiceOverXtra, which is like this really great resource, news hub, networking website for all things voiceover.
Anne: Yes, you must go see VoiceOverXtra if you have not, and read, read, read, read. I wonder how many articles he has by now, because he’s been in business for a very long time. It’s a really cool timeline of voiceover [laughs]
Gabby: Everyone who’s ever been anyone in voiceover has at some point had like a featured article or done work with him. I know you’ve been a contributor. I’ve been a contributor. Yeah, it’s crazy.
Anne: Well, he wanted me to take a look at this very interesting article, and I think it is a great opportunity to talk about something that I think is, you know, something that in our businesses women should be thinking about. And it is an article written by Lynne Darlington. As she, and it talks about “Female Voiceover Talent Self-inflict Their Wage Gap, a Client’s Perspective.”
Gabby: Yeah. So we’re going to try not to alienate our male listeners with this episode, but it is important, and John did reach out to us, and ask us to kind of broach the topic and see if we couldn’t prompt you guys to get involved in the conversation as well.
Anne: So the very first topic here that Lynne talks about is that females asked for less money. Right there is a powerful statement. [laughs]
Anne: So that there was a discrepancy along gender lines regarding the price quotes that she received. It led me to think about gosh, are there people out there undermining, women specifically, undermining their worth by asking for less?
Gabby: This is definitely something you and I have tackled head on. It’s the same pattern, right? Women, more so than men, seem to have a problem asking for money, talking about money, addressing money, and for that matter, knowing their worth and knowing the value that goes along with what they do. Women tend to minimize.
Anne: Well you know, the whole money block theory, women were raised to think that they were the homemakers, they stayed home, take care of the kids, and the male was the breadwinner of the family. And so that tradition, I believe, influenced me when I was growing up because my mother, you know, that’s what she did. She stayed home, and she took care of the kids. And he was out there making money. And I was always kind of raised with that idea that my mom couldn’t make more money than my dad because it would make him feel less manly, so to speak.
Gabby: Sure. Sure, yeah, it would undermine him, or create sort of a security issue. Or insecurity, yeah.
Anne: It’s weird. Now I’m showing my age, but I remember thinking when I got married, ok, if I make this much money in my job, right, is it going to insult my husband if I make more? Or should I just not say anything? Or what if – and I had all of these questions going through my head. This of course was before I started to become my own entrepreneur, and how I like to say that I’ve advanced my mental worth over the years and said, “hey, wait a minute. I am worth this. And it doesn’t matter if I’m female, male, you know, alien, whatever. I deserve a certain amount of money for my work.”
Gabby: See, I’m with you on that part. The other stuff, the family component, not so much. In my case, I was born and raised with a sense of New York hustle that has never gone away, and from as early an age as I can remember, it was always, “are you going to make some money off of that? You know you can sell that. Why don’t you go out to the curb and see if the neighbors’ll buy it?” It didn’t matter what it was.
Anne: I love that. [laughs]
Gabby: So yeah, like my entrepreneurialism started when I was like five. I mean, I was always trying to figure out how to make cash. I wonder if I wasn’t prompted to do that, and my folks hadn’t sort of positioned me for that, what would have happened when I finally went into business for myself? I would have been probably pretty lost.
Anne: I think that’s great there was an actual active role in allowing you to pursue your entrepreneurial visions. It’s not that I wasn’t encouraged to, you know, follow my dreams and to do what it was that I wanted.
Gabby: Oh no, of course not.
Anne: It was like an undercurrent, Gabby. And I don’t – you know what I mean? It was like ok, this is tradition, this is how it is. Nobody ever really spoke of it to me, but it was like an undercurrent that the female had this role and essentially, you know, didn’t undermine the male. But nobody ever really said it to me. That’s interesting. I’m wonder if – it’s a generational thing.
Gabby: It is, but it also had to do with for my parents especially, and it could be the immigrant piece –
Anne: Oh yeah.
Gabby: To them it wasn’t so much about the profession or the job or what it is that – it was the money. It was really connected to the money, and how much of it you could make, and how much potential there was for it to make. Of course, like any good child of an immigrant, right, they want you to be a doctor or a lawyer, or you know, like some really crazy upper echelon career. And so even though I was always very enterprising, when I told my parents I was going to be an actor, I mean, my mom cried for like two weeks straight. Like she wouldn’t stop.
Anne: My mother said, “honey, when are you going to get a real job?”
Gabby: Exactly. That’s what it was. She was devastated not because I was following my dream, but because I was going to be poor.
Anne: Well, and when I got in to the corporate world, right, as I grew up and I got in to the corporate world, of course I, you know, I was confident in my abilities, and I’m going to say I ended up working in fields where there were a lot of men, or it was male-dominated. And I simply, when I went into my interview, you know, you either know the salary that they are going to present, or you are negotiating a salary, I simply just knew that number. What I think is interesting is that once you got the job, and you’re in working in the company, and all of a sudden find out that perhaps there are male counterparts that are making, doing the same job as you, yet making more money, and I think that a lot of this whole, maybe gender wage, you know, gender gap is because of you don’t know what wages your counterparts are making. So it kind of makes you think, is there an inequality, or did I just not know where the negotiations started?
Gabby: Lynne makes this point in the article, and I think it’s brilliant. She asks very boldly, is it a bias or is it a self-inflicted wage gap? Are we in some way maybe responsible for this? All I can say to that, when it comes to men and women as consumers and buyers, men are more likely to haggle and haggle aggressively.
Anne: [laughs] My father used to do that all the time.
Anne: I have to say in stores where there was no haggling.
Gabby: “Dad, dad we’re in Sears. They don’t do that here.”
Anne: My dad used to haggle in series like you wouldn’t believe. “Well, if I buy the whole tool chest –
Gabby: “No, no, Dad, it doesn’t work that way. Dad, stop, please. Dad, you’re embarrassing me.” [laughs]
Anne: That was me! My mother used to walk out of the store. He always got the deal. [laughs]
Gabby: Your mom would walk away, right? It’s like the head in the sand, you know, kind of thing. We have separated ourselves from this process. Women get very intimidated by it, they get nervous by it. You see it a lot. Whenever you travel, especially if you go overseas, you know, a lot of cultures still, the bargain, the haggle is very much alive and well. When you’re going to purchase something, you start with a lower rate or try to get a lower rate out of someone. Men are like little bulldogs, and women just kind of go, ok, and just sort of accept whatever. It’s kind of sad.
Anne: It’s a good thing that we’re talking about this. I really believe that by talking about it, really helps us to set our mindset to get what we’re worth and understand that it is something that you can be bold about, that you can negotiate, that you can haggle. And like I said, when I was early on, graduated college in my engineering position, right, at the orthopedic firm where I worked with all men, I was like one of two female engineers, I didn’t have an idea of the starting point of the salary. So I can’t say, was there bias? Perhaps not, because I didn’t really have a good idea as to what the number should be anyway until after I started working. So I’m not going to sit back and just whine and say “well, that was unfair.” I’m going to say “all right, now I’ve educated myself on what the baseline should be for this particular job, and now I’m armed and ready to fight for it.” And I think that if we as women talk about the potential for, is there a wage gap, well the fact we’re simply talking about it allows us to go and investigate further so that we can find out, well, what is the baseline salary for this particular position? What is the baseline cost people that will pay for this type of service or voiceover, whatever it is? As long as you are armed with that number in your head, you can then fight for it. If you don’t know what the number is, then it’s hard to cry “wage gap,” you know. [laughs]
Gabby: Right, right. If we don’t value the money coming out of our wallet very much, or if we don’t put a high priority on it, how can we value what comes in to it? I also find it fascinating that women, more than men on average when we look at statistics, tend to work in jobs that have lower hourly or wage rates but tips. Right? They are gratuitous types, so waitresses, and stylists, and manicurists, the list goes on and on, right, hospitality in general. So we’re ok with a tip. We’re ok with somebody appreciating what we do, right, and being thankful for it. But why don’t we simply demand that in the hourly from the onset?
Anne: In the first place. Right? Demand it in the first place.
Anne: That’s a great observation. Just know that you can demand it in the first place. I think maybe, Gabby, there’s something to be said about the self-inflicted, you know, now that you’ve educated yourself, we can start to change things, right? But there’s also – I think we should maybe talk a little bit about opportunities. Are you feeling like the opportunities for us to make money in the different voiceover genres are equal male-female?
Gabby: No. No. They’re getting better.
Gabby: They’re getting better, they definitely are. There’s a lot more opportunity for women in promo. There’s obviously a huge demand in video games, but there are still arenas where ehh we don’t play very often; movie trailers, looking at you.
Anne: We can as women sit here and say that’s not fair, but in reality, we are driven by a market, a market mentality, right, that feels that males should do movie trailers or males should do promo. There is obviously, of course, if we can rise up and say yes, give us an opportunity, give us a chance, but it really is driven by the market, and I think a lot of people tend to forget that, that it’s market driven. If the market doesn’t demand a female voice in a particular genre, they just, you know, it’s not there for us to take. Or it’s not there – the opportunity isn’t there for us, and therefore we can’t complain about wages that we’re not receiving because the market didn’t demand it.
Gabby: We see this in Hollywood too, leading ladies tend to be paid much less than their male counterparts. Wasn’t it Scarlett Johansson who held out a couple of years ago with the whole Avengers franchise and like commanded this crazy, crazy awesome amount of money because she was like, “no, I’m not getting paid less than these guys,” literally guys.
Anne: Exactly. That’s the start, that’s what I feel, that’s what sparks change is the fact that, if you do find out that there is indeed a wage gap – although I think voiceover’s a little different. Because when I go out, and I quote a job, it doesn’t matter if I’m female or male or alien, like I said. I have my rate guide and I have my worth. And so I quote as such. I’m not quoting less because I’m a woman or because I think I deserve less. I’m absolutely quoting what my business guide and what my rate guide specify for me, which is right for me, which I don’t believe is on the low side of things. [laughs]
Gabby: I think a little more so than men, women tend to think, “well, if I offer a lower rate, I might be more appealing to someone. And it will get me more opportunities.” And that has just been disproven time and time and time again.
Anne: But I know a few male voiceover artists that will do the same thing to get the job.
Gabby: Oh yes, I’m not saying that they don’t. But I think women will come in at that lower rate. Mind you, I’m the same woman who laughs about the fact that women make up 52% of the planet, and yet we consider ourselves a minority.
Anne: Yeah. Well, I think women need to –
Anne: Women need to change that mentality.
Gabby: We have the numbers, ladies. We’re not at a disadvantage. [laughs]
Anne: We absolutely do. At all costs we need to stop thinking that we’re not worthy of a certain price because of our gender, for gosh sakes.
Gabby: Oh God, please.
Anne: Yeah, no.
Gabby: [laughs] I’m laughing at the fact that you said that because I’m doing a tally in my head of the maintenance and the money that most women invest in themselves [laughs] on like a daily, weekly, monthly basis, and you compare that to the average guy, and you go “good God, we should be making twice what they do.”
Anne: Because we need, we need that money.
Gabby: Come on, the nails, the hair, the makeup, the clothes, it doesn’t buy itself. Guys roll out of bed, throw on a shirt, they’re good to go.
Anne: So Lynne also said something about, because she was on the other side of the glass there, she ignored the lowball quote auditions, which I think is also a fantastic assessment –
Anne: – for every – for all of us to learn, that you know what, if you don’t value yourself, what makes you think that someone else is gonna value you?
Gabby: Inside of the article she talks about it’s her clients she’s talking to. She’s having a conversation with a casting director, and that casting director said just that. If I get ten quotes for a job, and eight people come in, I don’t know, $750, $800, somewhere in a $100 margin of one another, and two people are down in the $200s, I’m like mmm, I don’t –
Anne: I was just hiring somebody to do some web design work for me, and they came in low. And I thought to myself, mmm. [laughs]
Gabby: Like it’s scary.
Anne: That doesn’t seem right.
Anne: And I stayed away because of it.
Gabby: And then as someone with a job who’s hiring, I start scrutinizing.
Gabby: I’m like, can they spell? I start looking for the mistakes. So in our case as voice actors, that’s what – they’re gonna start being hyper critical, because something has to be wrong if someone’s charging that little.
Anne: Oh yeah, absolutely. There’s the red flag that goes up.
Anne: Guys, do yourself a favor. [laughs] You don’t want people to think that of you, something must be wrong because they’re coming in so low.
Gabby: I want to address one more thing on this just because we should. Let’s make sure, Anne, that the issue is not a lack of knowledge, especially when it comes to voiceover, right? There are so many resources. There are so many places for you to get a rough idea of quotes of what averages are. So let’s kind of run through it.
Anne: We have rates guides out there, we have some amazing rate guides.
Gabby: GVAA has one. Voiceovers.com, our sponsor, they have their new D-Cypher algorithm, which is amazing if you guys haven’t seen it. We have, out of the U.K., Gravy for the Brain –
Anne: Gravy for the Brain.
Gabby: – has theirs. The SAG AFTRA guide, I will always default to that if nothing else. Am I missing anybody?
Anne: I think those are the major players.
Gabby: Those are the majors, yeah.
Anne: And of course your own rate guide, which can be based off of that. Yeah, there’s no excuse to not be educated, because we’ve got great resources out there, and that’s where all of us, whether you are, been in the business for 10, 20, 30 years, or just your first year, you should be consulting the rate guides, and that is gonna give you your benchmark for getting a fair rate, no matter the gender.
Gabby: Again, we want to thank John for bringing this to our attention, John Florian at VoiceOverXtra. Guys, we want you to continue the conversation both with us and with voiceoverxtra.com. Go to their website, read the article, please comment, let us know what you think, drop us a comment too at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to get some input and some feedback from women who have experienced some of this firsthand.
Anne: And I’d like to give a big shout-out to our sponsor, ipDTL, that can bring together the women [laughs] and all genders to talk about rates and discussion, and all of us.
Anne: So yes, ipDTL, you too can do your job like a boss. Find out more at ipdtl.com.
Gabby: And I mentioned earlier Voiceovers.com. Please go check them out, guys. Get yourself primed, prepped, and ready to be part of their big launch. They have so, so many things in the works behind the scenes right now. I promise you, there’s a ton going on in the backend of that website, and they are working their butts off right now. So we want to make sure that you’re a part of that for when it actually, officially rolls out.
Anne: Have a great week, guys, and we’ll see you next week.
Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.