Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Gillian Anderson takes aim at The X-Files’ lack of gender diversity


Gillian Anderson is a woman who can hold her own, whether she’s fighting extra-terrestrial beings on the big screen or battling with gremlins of a real-life variety. 

So, it comes as little surprise that the 48-year-old actress has waded in strong to a debate about gender diversity on the show that made her a household name.

Anderson made her feelings clear on the matter by re-tweeting an article that probed why the 11th season of The X-Files has not a single woman on its team of writers.

To add insult to injury, Anderson pointed out that only two of the forthcoming 207 episodes are directed by women, as well (and she herself was one of them).

It’s a situation that is familiar to Anderson.

This is a woman who has picked up multiple awards for her depiction of the conspiracy-busting Dana Scully. And yet she’s had to fight for a level playing field with her co-star David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) at every turn.

When the Hollywood star first started filming the show, back in the 90s, she was even directed “to stand a few feet behind her male partner on camera, careful never to step side-by-side with him”, the Daily Beast reports.

It took three years for her to demand both equal pay and literally an equal footing to Duchovny, despite the fact that they shared equal screen time and both were equally responsible for the series’ success.

Read more: Why are women still being paid less than men?

“I can only imagine that at the beginning, they wanted me to be the sidekick,” Anderson says of Fox studio’s bizarre direction on the matter. “Or that, somehow, maybe it was enough of a change just to see a woman having this kind of intellectual repartee with a man on camera, and surely the audience couldn’t deal with actually seeing them walk side by side!”

“I don’t know how long it lasted or if it changed because I eventually said, ‘Fuck no! No!’” she adds. “I don’t remember somebody saying, ‘OK, now you get to walk alongside him.’ But I imagine it had more to do with my intolerance and spunk than it being an allowance that was made.”

The X-Files' Mulder and Scully, back in the day

Amazingly, Anderson faced the same issue of a glaring gender pay gap when producers persuaded her to come on-board for The X-Files’ revival in 2016.

The actress was initially offered half of the fee landed by Duchovny; and in an era where women’s wages in Hollywood have become a hotbed issue. 

“I’m surprised that more [interviewers] haven’t brought that up because it’s the truth,” Anderson responded, when the Daily Beast asked her about  the pay disparity (first disclosed in the Hollywood Reporter).

“Especially in this climate of women talking about the reality of [unequal pay] in this business, I think it’s important that it gets heard and voiced. It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it.

Read more: Gillian Anderson: “I have, at times, felt paralysed by fear”

“Even in interviews in the last few years, people have said to me, ‘I can’t believe that happened, how did you feel about it, that is insane.’ And my response always was, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And then it happened again! I don’t even know what to say about it.”

She added, “It is… sad.”

It is understood that both stars were eventually paid the same for the event series, but clearly not without Anderson having to do battle.

So, forget alien abductions. When the day comes where women and men are paid equally without question AND we have gender equality in all industries as a natural form of progression; then we'll sleep easy at night.

Images: Rex Features



Stylist meets feminist powerhouse Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

gillian anderson.jpg

Gillian Anderson on the “constant tug of war” of motherhood

gillian anderson news.jpg

Gillian Anderson hits back at tabloid's ageist Botox rumours


The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants reunion to Nicki Minaj's vintage look

by Nicola Colyer
18 Aug 2017

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Serena Williams on how skin colour affects what people think of her

“I feel like people think I’m mean”

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017

This Hocus Pocus star’s pregnancy announcement is pure 90s perfection

“I smell children…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Anna Faris on knowing when to call time on an unhappy relationship

“Don’t be afraid to seek your independence”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Why Taylor Swift’s sexual assault verdict is a victory for womankind

The pop star has completely changed the narrative

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton defends Donald Trump from sexual assault allegations

“I think [the women] are just trying to get attention and get fame...”

by Moya Crockett
16 Aug 2017

The personality trait that Mindy Kaling hopes to pass on to her baby

Kaling gets real about motherhood as she confirms her pregnancy

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton describes the emotional fallout of her 2001 sex tape

“I could not leave my house for months”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017

Taylor Swift wins sexual assault case for “anyone who feels silenced”

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017