Casting Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor on Doctor Who was a huge win. But now she can log another victory: getting equal pay for the role.
It shouldn’t be such big, revolutionary news. And yet, it is. Jodie Whittaker will be paid the same amount as her male counterpart when she takes over the role as the Doctor on Doctor Who.
I, like many Doctor Who fans, was thrilled we were finally granted a female Doctor. Of course, there were the inevitable sexist naysayers out there stomping their feet and shaking their fists saying the Doctor has always been and should always be a man.
But the BBC has stood by their decision, saying Whittaker is “destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor” and they “hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story.”
And now the BBC is putting its money where its mouth is. BBC director-general Tony Hall said that Whittaker will receive pay parity with Peter Capaldi when she picks up the sonic screwdriver during the Christmas special.
“Yes, there is parity for the same amount of work,” Hall told the Evening Standard. “And I do think it’s time for [the] 13th Time Lord to be a woman. I watched my first Doctor Who in the ’60s, hiding behind the sofa. As a devoted Whovian, I’m incredibly excited.”
Capaldi reportedly made between $260,000 and $325,000 in the 2016-2017 year, so Whittaker will have a similar salary.
This is a huge win, especially because the BBC came under fire after its top stars’ salaries were released. Unsurprisingly, there was a huge gender wage gap at the BBC, and the men were making far more than the women. Claudia Winkleman, the highest-paid female BBC star, was paid less than a quarter of the highest-paid male star, Chris Evans. And only one third of the celebrities who made more than $194,000 were women.
Of course the gender pay gap isn’t just a BBC problem. It’s a problem throughout the entertainment industry and basically every other industry. Women in the U.S., for example, make an average of 78% of what their male counterparts make. And things get even worse when race comes into play. African American and Native American women make 64 cents and 59 cents to a white man’s dollar, respectively, while Hispanic women make 56 cents to the dollar. And women are highly underrepresented in entertainment. They get fewer speaking roles, fewer opportunities behind the camera, and are overlooked in other ways.
But the BBC is finally taking a step in the right direction by not only handing Whittaker the keys to the TARDIS, but also by giving her the money she deserves.