HAIM On Gender-Pay Disparity: ‘I Just Want To Ask for Equal’

Andie Manahan

November 3, 2018

Grammy-nominated band HAIM are ready to rock the boat to fight for equal pay with male musicians.

Photo: Getty Images


The sister trio Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim have been making a name for themselves ever since the release of their debut album Days Are Gone, which earned them a Grammy nod for Best New Artist, in 2013.

The release of their sophomore album Something To Tell You has also earned them critical acclaim.

They’ve travelled all over the world playing headline shows at some of the biggest festival and sold out concerts. But it’s been an uphill climb for them to fight for recognition and equality in the music industry.

Last year, the sisters fired their booking agent over gender-pay disparity.

Grazia reports it began when they were slotted to play a festival and were told that their fee was low because “you play the festival in the hope that you’d get played on the radio.”

But it turns out they were getting ten times less than other acts in the lineup.

“It’s scary out there and it’s f***ed up,” Alana opened up to the UK magazine. “It’s f***ed up not even to be paid half the same amount. But to be paid a tenth of that amount of money? It was insane.”

On Thursday (November 1), during the Power Women Summit, the Haim sisters reflected about their experience in an interview with The Wrap.

“We heard that the band after us got paid 10 times more than we did,” Alana, the youngest, revealed. “And when you hear something like that, it’s another one of those things where you’re like, ‘Is this really happening? Is this really a thing?’”

The band in question was a male act in the same lineup, in the same festival, and repped by the same agent as they were.

“I think we were just in complete shock that this was still happening,” added middle sister Danielle.

“And we decided that we needed a change and that’s what happened.”

It looks like the sisters weren’t the only ones shocked by what happened. Their revelation reportedly elicited gasps around the room.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only incident on gender-pay disparity. It happens across several industries.

One recent example is Claire Foy being paid less than her ‘The Crown’ co-stars despite portraying the lead role. Kiera Knightley also recently shared with ELLE that she had been afraid to question her salaries. “It didn’t even occur to me. It felt like something you couldn’t question.”

But these ladies are now planning to do more to address the issue of sexism in the industry. And so are the Haim sisters.

“[We hear], ‘Don’t rock the boat,’ ‘Don’t ask a question,’ Don’t cause a problem,’” Alana recalls to The Wrap. “And I remember hearing ‘Don’t rock the boat’ for the first time and wondering, ‘Why can’t I rock the boat? I wanna rock the boat.”

“I don’t want to ask for more, I never want to ask for more. I just want to ask for equal,” she added. “I appreciate that I have my sisters to help be my armor…You really have to surround yourself with people that are your armor. I was lucky enough to be born with my armor.”

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Earlier this year, big sis Este told crowd at the NME Awards “Anyone that identifies as a girl. Whenever you walk into a guitar shop or a soundcheck or a recording studio, do not let anyone that’s there intimidate you or make you feel like you don’t belong there, because you do belong there.”

At the Power Women Summit, she opened up about supporting other women in music. “I think that we try to incorporate any opportunity that we get to incorporate women in our projects. We are literally pining for women. Pining.”

HAIM performed “The Wire,” “Want You Back,” and Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” at the Power Women Summit.

Rock on, ladies!