Suffragette star Romola Garai has called for creches on film and television sets. Garai, who plays an MP’s wife in Sarah Gavron’s tale of the British fight for universal suffrage, said women with children were being unfairly held back in the entertainment industry workplace because long hours were part of the culture.
The Hong Kong-born actor, who became a mother in March 2013, told The Independent: “Sets never have childcare. I think it doesn’t happen because it hasn’t occurred to anyone. It’s stymying women’s careers. In an industry that has such a big problem with female representation, it would be such a support.”
Garai noted that she would have been forced to pass on hit BBC television drama The Hour, the small-screen role for which she is best known, had she been offered the part of news producer Isabel Rowley after giving birth to her daughter.
“On The Hour, I was being called [to set] at 5.45am and [was] never home before 8pm,” she said. “That’s routine. I cannot do that any more unless I’m prepared to relinquish raising my child to someone else. That’s not my choice. I’m not criticising women who do choose that, but the industry is not allowing parents to work and be involved in raising their children.”
Garai, who is performing in Measure for Measure at London’s Young Vic theatre, is supporting a new campaign group titled Parents in Performing Arts (Pipa). Suffragette’s stars have been at the centre of calls for increased equality in Hollywood, with Carey Mulligan attacking the “sexist film industry” for not telling the story of the suffragettes sooner, and Meryl Streep hitting out at influential reviews site Rotten Tomatoes for being weighted towards male critics.16.10.2015