When it comes to Hollywood, there are plenty of high earners to choose from. Love them or hate them, these the people who grab the attention of the masses, and use their inflated vantage point to make a name for themselves, and quite a hefty living. Those who truly made an impact, in our opinion, were those who melded superstardom with artistic expression, education and philanthropy. When we cross paths with just one of these power houses (we’re looking at you Beyoncé), it is an impressive feat indeed. When one of these unicorns pair with a like-minded counterpart, the effect is hypnotizing.
Although the salaries of these celebrities are head spinning indeed (honestly it’s hard to believe how much we pay actors in this country), we wanted to shout to those top earning twosomes who made an awesome impact throughout the course of what has been an intriguing year, for everyone.
1. Michelle and Barack Obama
While these two may have been campaign trailing for much of their last months at the White House for Hillary, they made ample time to speak out for those causes closest to the Obama legacy before the close of 2016. Hard working and charitable, the Obamas will be missed not only for their accomplishments but also their character. After making a modest $400,000 a year as the President of The United States, Obama is reportedly worth $12.2 million. No word on what his wife brings to the table. Although it may seem meager in comparison to his Hollywood counterparts, he and his wife secured a place on this list because they have changed the face of American history. Michelle’s commitment to causes like childhood obesity and international adolescent girls’ education, make her heart almost as big as the impact she’s made on this country and young women everywhere.
2.Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Bey and J’s net worth is said to be in the region of $700 million and we know in 2017, it will only get bigger. Their ingenious decision to keep the ‘Lemonade’ album exclusive to Tidal earned them a whopping sum, while simultaneously raising awareness for the Black Lives Matter campaign. It is not of course just their involvement in the music industry that keeps the home however, as the man of the house earns much of his money from side projects: with his own champagne and cognac brands doing much of the work toward his more than $50 million 2016 salary. The pair also has a long history in philanthropy, and for Bey’s part, she collaborated with three charities for her Formation World Tour, in the hopes that her followers would recognize the ease with which they could give back to causes she is passionate about, and #BEYgood.
3. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
While the brakes may have been put on the relationship of the millennium, it does not preclude them from a list of couples that dominated this year in and out of headlines. Pitt, worth an estimated $240 million, and Jolie, whose net worth is about $170 million, broke the hearts of all Hollywood lovers this fall upon the shocking announcement of their divorce and subsequent tattles of cheating.
Given their acclaimed status both as couple and individuals however, there’s not much time for moping here. Jolie awaits the release of the movie she has directed with Netflix, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. The film deals with a subject very close to her heart and covers many aspects of her philanthropic ventures. Pitt has little time to succumb to emotion either, with Allied coming out shortly among a litany of other projects in the works. While both have taken a set back from their rigorous on-screen schedules in recent years, their involvement in causes they believe in, and commitment to giving back make them one of our rockstar couples of the year.
4. Kim Kardashian And Kanye West
Too soon to call out these two on a fabulous year in the spotlight? Apparently not. Apart from the Paris debacle and subsequent rumours of separation, these two spent most of this year ogling over one another while the rest of us ogled over them. Kanye’s less-than precious lunch dates of late has us questioning his sanity (as does his Twitter account) and his wife, worth a cool $140 million, remains in the wind, nonetheless, Kimye still rank as one of 2016’s most powerful couples. Money isn’t everything as the saying goes, and don’t ask us to tell you how much they’re worth - we’re as confused at their finances as Donald is by his, we do however know they aren’t short on cash, especially judging by pictures of their newly finished home.
Between clothes lines, apps, emojis and countless other enterprise, Kardashian is estimated to have earned around $53 million in 2016 alone. Her husband is said to be worth anything between $145 million and $180 million, which brings their total earnings near quarter of a billion status. As many fashionistas remember Kanye’s show debacle during NYFW (think: fainting models, lost editor busses and skin-hued spandex), and his unforgettable FAMOUS video, this isn’t an artist, who sits in the background. A rise to fame that is one for the books, many await her return anxiously and speculate whether Kanye’s next business dive will be into Trump industries.
5. David and Victoria Beckham
As Victoria Beckham stores continue to pop up, Spice Girls fans everywhere rejoice that the once-broke fashion line is most definitely in the money. Her soccer star husband’s foray into modelling and Victoria’s continued success as designer has everyone admiring the couple that was once rumoured in trouble back during his Manchester United days. Their son’s Brooklyn rise to Instagram fame have many pundits hedging their bets as to when he will make his dent on the Beckham name and begin branding his own business with his singular name. Having both ‘retired’ from their initial jobs that rose them to fame, the couple wear retirement well, and expensively, with their estimated worth to be somewhere north of $700 million.
A special mention: couples to watch out for in 2017.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markie
Once they decide to come out and begin doing official tours for the crown, these two will rival Kate and Wills as the palace’s fairytale couple. Having had a rough start to the relationship, we’re hoping the U.S actress and her royal man, worth an estimated $40 million, is allowed the chance to stand her ground given her background in female activism and similar stance to feminism as us at SWAAY.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner
Her daddy dearest and his father-in-law has given us all pause for thought at the end of a turbulent 2016, and this coming year could be one of Ivanka’s biggest yet, with her set to acquire much of her father’s responsibilities in the Trump Organization. Ivanka’s outspoken nature on behalf of women, especially female entrepreneurs, and Kushner’s empire will make them a pair to keep a close eye on in the coming months indeed! Love him or hate him, Ivanka’s namesake lifestyle brand, which is making a killing at Macy’s and Nordstrom, has certainly contributed to her net worth of $150 million.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.