Two stories that are worth chewing over lightly to illustrate the state of feminism in our sceptered isle these days. An actress who doesn’t actually know whether there’s a pay gap complaining about the possibility that all are not equal. And the Met having to pay out a fortune to a male officer for the vindictive manner in which he was treated by a female superior. This is not, I submit, what the actual feminist campaigners were after. Equal opportunity, yea and rightly so, but this?
The first concerns Poldark:
On screen, Demelza Poldark is every inch her husband’s equal. Not so for the actress who plays her.
Eleanor Tomlinson has revealed her frustration at being paid less than Aidan Turner, who stars as Captain Ross Poldark, as the gender pay row reaches the BBC’s flagship drama.
Poldark returns soon for its fourth series, with Ross and Demelza at the heart of the action.
Asked if she and Turner have ever discussed their salaries, Tomlinson, 26, said: “No, I can’t say that we have.”
Pushed on whether she thinks they are paid the same, she replied: “My guess is no. And while at the beginning that might have been ok – he was a bigger star than me – now I don’t think so.
“We’re equal leads of the show, so I’d be pretty upset if the gap hadn’t closed.”
She’s not actually asked. Doesn’t know. Well, that’s not exactly the strong confident young woman we’re all insistent upon saying today’s ladies are, is it? Wallowing along in ignorance and doing nothing about it?
Might be worth having a word with your agent Honey. But it’s this which is truly enraging:
Earlier this year it was revealed that Matt Smith was paid more than Claire Foy in The Crown for his role as the Duke of Edinburgh to her Queen.
Netflix promised to redress the balance and Foy has reportedly received £200,000 in back pay. Smith said afterwards: “Claire is one of my best friends, and I believe that we should be paid equally and fairly and there should be equality for all.
“Going forward, I think we should all bear in mind that we need to strive to make this better and a more even playing field for everyone involved – but not just in our industry, in all industries.”
Sure, different luvvie but it is ludicrous. All should be paid equally? What, a star actor should be paid the same as the mailboy on a film? A star actor should be paid the same as a CEO of a FTSE100 company? Once we’ve accepted the basic idea that different roles gain different amounts of money then, well, we’ve accepted that different roles get different pay, haven’t we?
Then there’s this:
A decorated Chief Inspector has been awarded £870,000 by the Metropolitan Police after he was hounded out of his job by a female boss who was intent on ridding his squad of a perceived macho culture.
Adrian Denby, 49, ran a tactical unit in Paddington better known as the riot squad when he was singled out by the force’s deputy assistant commissioner Maxine de Brunner.
Examples of that macho culture, the things he was doing wrong:
The tribunal – held almost two years ago – heard when she made a surprise visit to Paddington Green police station she witnessed a male officer walking from the shower across the office in just a towel.
It was alleged she was not happy about how Mr Denby, who was in charge of the Territorial Support Group unit at the station, handled the incident after he was said to have told her the men had to walk from the showers to their lockers.
Following the incident Mr Denby was placed under investigation and other claims were then made against him, including operating an off licence in the police station because beers were found in the staff fridge along with a price list.
Well, yes, having senior female management is obviously such a good idea isn’t it? No vindictiveness there at all, no siree. And if the worst a policewoman sees in her working career is a male colleague wrapped in a towel then that will have been an extremely pacific 30 years nicking criminals, won’t it?
Look, yes, of course men and women are and should be equal. But it’s equality of opportunity that we’re after, just as it is in any other area or distinction of life. And these people aren’t exactly aiding in that fight, are they, given the complaints they’re making, actions they’re taking.