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"For years nobody has ever questioned the fact that women received smaller wages. Time is up – and it is high time for us to do something about it. We do deserve to get the equal pay. I do not understand how is that even a controversial view."

 

 

I moved to Britain mostly for personal reasons, but when I did I signed up for a media course at the University of Brighton. Back then there was no similar course available in Poland, perhaps except for the Film Academy in Łódź, where securing a place was nearly impossible anyway.

The first few years in this industry are particularly hard. I worked as a trainee for 60 hours per week, earning little above the minimum wage. Many of my friends gave up in the process, especially women, as the work was so demanding, and the pay - inadequate.

My nationality was a part of the story, too. I was the only Pole training for a professional position, whilst even a job of a receptionist was out of my reach because of my foreign accent. That was truly difficult time.

I remember seeing my friends working in the hospitality industry earning twice the amount of money I did. I was literally on the verge of giving up when I was offered a position with the BBC to work on Holtby City, the TV series. I would dare to say that it was that particular moment that detemined my whole career.

For a girl from Poland getting a contract with the BBC was a dream come true in itself - but looking back it was just the beginning. In the next few years I worked on some truly great series as Made in Chelsea or award-winning Veep.

That is when I received a call asking me to join the team of Game of Thrones. I could not believe my luck:  the series was winning awards all over the world and was regarded as the ultimate TV experience - and here I am! Sometimes I felt like pinching myself was the only way to check if is this really happening or is it just a beautiful dream.

From there I went on to work on the second season of "The Crown", and recently completed my first feature film, "Yardie". During the cast and crew screening I felt really special as it was the first time I have ever seen my name in the credits at the end in a cinema. It is just a split second, but you are so proud that you forget how hard it was to get as far as this.

With Netflix, Amazon and HBO changing the entertainment industry, the situation now is entirely different than it was when I was starting. Obviously, I regret nothing, but would I be ready to go through the whole thing once again? I do not know.

The costs one has to bear on the way up surely result in less women getting to the top jobs in the industry. I have been working on major productions for many years now, but even today it sometimes happens that I feel a bit overwhelmed when I enter a room and almost only men are sitting at the meeting table.

Fortunately, all the campaigns about gender pay gap in the media are shaking my professional world. For years nobody has even questioned the fact that women received smaller wages for the same job. Time is up – and it is high time for us to do something about it. We do deserve to get equal pay. I do not understand how is that even a controversial view in 2018.

I am now working with two female colleagues within their own company and I already know we are expecting to work on an amazing new show featuring actresses who were my childhood heroes. I think I might have to pinch myself again to believe this is really happening.

 

 

Words: Jakub Krupa

Picture: Jadwiga Brontē

© 2012 Ministry of Foreign Affairs