All forms of gender-based workplace discrimination are absolute garbage. But there’s a particular kind of noxiousness to the wage gap between male and female actors, because unlike with many other professions, actors’ pay is often public knowledge. Thankfully, we can report the BBC’s Doctor Who is paying Jodie Whittaker the same as her predecessor, Peter Capaldi. She made sure of it.
To look at the way female actors are routinely paid pennies on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, you’d think that studios… well, that they don’t value the work women do as much as men. There’s really no other way to justify paying people with the exact same job different amounts of money. But at a time when more people are speaking out about the pay gap (and other forms of discrimination against women in the entertainment industry), the Doctor Who franchise is trying to do right by its newest star.
During this year’s National Television Awards, held last night in London, Jodie Whittaker reportedly confirmed to Digital Spy that she made sure the BBC was paying her the same amount as the previous (and male) Doctor Peter Capaldi:
It’s an incredibly important time and the notion [of equal pay] should be supported. It’s a bit of a shock that it’s a surprise to everyone that it should be supported.
News of Whittaker’s fair pay comes at a time when the BBC, in particular, has come under fire for widespread pay disparity along gender lines that most notably drove news editor Carrie Gracie to quit in protest.
In response to Gracie’s departure, the BBC recently pledged that it was working with PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a company-wide audit to analyse the severity of its pay gap issues. But a number of BBC employees have expressed very serious concerns as to whether the audit will actually lead to substantive changes, or if it will end up being used to dismiss their concerns about workplace equality.
Doctor Who is an excellent place to start levelling the playing field. Now let’s see if the BBC keeps the ball rolling in the right direction.