Speaking to The Stage, Wanamaker said that she herself had experienced the problem in the past and revealed that she had been forced to “fight” to receive parity with some of the male performers in the BBC sitcom My Family, in which she still stars.
There's a very good reason for this: there's a glut of middle-aged female actresses because they mostly get disposed of for starring roles when they hit 30 while men carry on.
The actress, who appeared alongside Simon Russell Beale in Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre last year, said agents or bookers should be “more careful” when negotiating deals for female performers and added: “Women are always at the bottom as far as pay is concerned - the equal pay business is a big struggle.
The trouble is that it's one profession where you can't have equal pay because you don't have equal jobs. If you've got 20 women for Juliet and 10 men for Romeo, you should be paying the Juliets less. You can't just get the women to play Romeo.
This is best demonstrated by the porn industry where actresses are paid considerably more money than actors.