“Certainly, five years ago, I wouldn’t have felt like I was in a position to say, ‘I want the same as my male counterpart’,” she told The Daily Mirror. “Because I would have been worried about losing the job."
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“And then I would think, ‘I want to work and I want to pay my mortgage’," Hawes added.
“But now, I do think businesses and corporations that we work for seem to be taking it very seriously. So yeah, it’s not so much of a fight anymore. It really does feel like there’s been a real sea change here. It feels different.
“And I feel more empowered when I go into a project.”
In BBC1's Bodyguard, Hawes plays Julia Montague, the British Home Secretary, opposite Madden, who stars as a war veteran and Julia's new bodyguard. The two actors both demanded the same pay as each other, according to Hawes.
“If it’s something like Bodyguard and there are two of us,” Hawes said, “and you’re discussing your contract, just say ‘We want parity’.
“And more often than not, the actor will also say, ‘Yes, we’re doing the same amount of work. The same process, pay us the same’.
“And personally, that’s how I go about it now and I feel empowered to do that because of brilliant people that spoke up from the beginning and people who have made a stand.
“It allows everybody to be in a better position. We are getting there slowly but surely," Hawes added.
Bodyguard will launch on Sunday 26th August at 9pm on BBC1.
Episode two will air the following night on Monday 27th August at 9pm with the remainder of the series continuing on Sundays