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There's a gender pay gap in the modelling industry... and it's not what you think

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Recent outrage at the gender wage gap for BBC presenters has resulted in many other industries being put under scrutiny.

And as it so happens, a further look into the British modelling industry has illuminated some quite unexpected statistics. 

Despite women in the US generally earning far less than their male counterparts, it has recently been disclosed that female models earn a whopping 75% more than male models.

Cara Delevingne was revealed to be the highest earner, raking in a huge £8 million a year, with Rosie Huntington- Whiteley taking second place with her £6.5 million wage slip and Kate Moss not far behind at £5 million per year, despite previously holding the top spot. 

Such statistics would surely have us believe that the fashion and modelling industry is one where women do not face any kind of discrimination in the workplace. The only industry, where female pay comes out above the men. But all is not as it seems.  

Even in the fashion world, the very top positions continue to be held by males, with women holding just 1.7% of CEO roles. 

In fact, there are no women listed in the top 20 highest paid fashion executives- even luxury designer brand, Chanel, which is known for being traditionally ‘female’, is now headed by a man.

A post shared by Dior Official (@dior) on
It should also be noted that this kind of gender discrimination occurs in the fashion design industry too. Most of the big names that come to mind (think Mark Jacobs, Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin etc) are all men, acting as proof that even in a workplace that was viewed as ‘female’, women still don’t seem to be as successful as men in terms of fashion design and executive positions.

Fashion designer, Tom Ford, seems to think he knows why, stating,"when women design for other women, they proceed from a standpoint of practicality- not fantasy", suggesting male fashion design seems to be more valuable and ‘high art’ than that of a female designer, who tend to create more practical and wearable clothing pieces.

The caged Roxy bucket bag.A post shared by ALEXANDER WANG (@alexanderwangny) on
Of course, there are still some very successful female fashion designers, Vivienne Westwood, Miuccia Prada and Stella McCartney for example.

But, all in all, it’s evident that gender discrimination is still more than prevalent in the creative and business side of the fashion world. And in any case, is the wage gap for female models really something we should be celebrating as a victory? 

What are your thoughts? How do you feel about unequal pay in the modelling and fashion workplace? Leave us your comments below.  

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