Sunday 18 February 2018

'I've been hit by gender pay gap' - Line of Duty Irish star Rebecca

Actress Rebecca O'Mara who is in the Abbey. Photo: David Conachy.
Actress Rebecca O'Mara who is in the Abbey. Photo: David Conachy.

Laura Lynott

Actress Rebecca O'Mara has revealed that she has been paid less than her male co-stars.

Rebecca, who appeared in acclaimed BBC drama Line Of Duty as Daniel Mays' love interest and in Red Rock as Gda Frankie Hynes, is also a regular on the Irish and UK theatre scene.

She made the comments after Hollywood star Emma Stone spoke out against the gender pay gap in the acting industry, revealing that her male co-stars offered to take salary drops so she would receive pay parity.

Rebecca (39), from Sandycove, has helped to raise awareness of the situation many Irish actresses often have to face.

"In the past I've certainly been paid less than men who had the same size, if not smaller, roles than me, in theatre in the UK and in Ireland," she said.

"As a jobbing actor in the theatre your level of fee is decided by how many times you've worked with that the-atre or company, so you have to work your way up the pay scale.

"However, this is at the discretion of whoever runs the company, and up until now a lot of those people have tended to be white middle-class men driven by male bias, which may be conscious or unconscious, creating inequality on every level of theatre production.

Emma Stone

"The hope is that from now on, because we have a new awareness thanks to movements like Waking The Feminists, whoever is running a theatre or company, be they male or female, will strive to achieve total gender parity for not only pay but also in terms of equality in the representation of women on and off stage."

Rebecca will next perform at a reading of Sonya Kelly's Furniture with Druid Theatre at the Galway Arts Festival next Friday, and she has other projects in the mix.

Love/Hate actress Denise McCormack has also praised Stone for raising the contentious issue of the pay gap.

Denise (41), who tends to play strong women on screen, from Linda in Love/Hate to Bridget Kiely in TV3's Red Rock, said: "It's great that someone as famous and with so much power as Emma Stone has come out and raised awareness about pay.

"She has the status to do it, but I'd imagine a lot of women might be concerned about coming out to say this because they might be afraid they wouldn't be cast or that they'd lose their job.

"I think she was the right person to raise this.

IFTA 201714.png
Denise McCormack arriving on the red carpet for the IFTA Awards 2017 at the Mansion House, Dublin. Photo: Michael Chester

"Young Irish actresses coming into the business might be afraid to raise this - they might feel that it looks like they don't want the job.

"I'd be very annoyed if I was getting paid less, but I've never had this problem. I always get my agent to see, if I'm a main character, that I'm on the same wage as the male actors.

"If I'm doing the same job as someone else, it's irrelevant what age or sex I am."


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