‘Big Little Lies’ Star Laura Dern Says This Woman Inspired Her to Fight for Equal Pay

There are few better ways to celebrate Equal Pay Day today than by highlighting the absurdity of the wage gap between men and women. So, that’s exactly what Big Little Lies star Laura Dern did.

The 52-year-old Emmy winner partnered with NUT-trition to executive produce a new video that reveals how men reacted to receiving 20 percent less product than women. Why? Because women take home about 80 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts for doing the same jobs.

Dern spoke with PureWow exclusively about what inspired her to become a champion for closing the wage gap and opened up about the female figure in her life that inspired her to advocate for herself and others.

The Big Little Lies star says her “mission for gender parity” and focus on “the treatment of women in the workplace in all areas” isn’t a new passion in her life. In fact, it’s something she’s felt strongly about since she was a young girl.

“My grandmother from Mobile, Alabama, didn’t know she had the right to ask for more,” Dern explained. “I know we all have a woman we watched as a little girl be strong and be fierce and have strong opinions, and yet be too afraid to ask for what was right. And those are the women that are in us today, wanting [us] to make a difference in their honor.”

And Dern is making a difference. Not only with the NUT-trition campaign, but also by lobbying for fair raises in Big Little Lies season two.

She contemplated this big step forward, saying, “I don’t know that any of us in an isolated circumstance could have done it. It was that we were finally in a community all sharing our stories [about the] pay gap, of discrimination and of harassment, and saying, if we stand together we can make a difference.”

Dern concluded, “Women who hold power and even female leaders have been bred to believe, that they can’t speak up about injustice. Our grandmothers and even our mothers’ generation were not allowed to speak up safely. And so we’ve got to do it for them. They raised us well.”

So, go forth and remember: You have to fight for your right to party earn equal wages.


Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.