Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Time Lord: “Gimmick to increase ratings” or “great accolade”?

Mandi Walls, technical community manager, EMEA at Chef Software

“Honestly, I think it’s great the 13th Time Lord is female. In the context of any organisation, it’s important to see diversity in leadership roles. It creates an environment for greater diversity of input and experience as well as being inspiring to underrepresented workers.

“Embracing inclusivity makes your workplace more attractive to a wider range of people, thus expanding the potential pool of talent you have to call on.

“While Doctor Who has featured a variety of diverse companions, I’m looking forward to seeing the new Doctor having her own adventures as the central character. If the series can feature a lesbian Victorian lizard woman, surely the Doctor regenerating as a woman isn’t so farfetched?”

Amy Shaw, senior digital PR executive at Curated Digital

“It shows the common uncertainty in office culture to having a woman take over from a man. This casting decision sends a huge message about gender equality as it helps to level the playing field for young girls. I, personally, am so happy that young girls now have representation on screen which will encourage them to believe that they can do what they please.

“These messages are often seeded at a young age, and can be nurtured throughout their lives so that when they do enter the workforce they don’t feel judged due to their gender, or if they do they are able to stand up for themselves. Equality conversations need to start happening at a young age if there is any hope for changing the way our society works and the way it views women.  By allowing young girls to see a heroine on screen it opens up the dialogue for these conversations.

“Girls will now be growing up with more opportunities as boys. They will have seen an all-female cast as Ghostbusters where the token Hollywood ‘dumb blonde’ was played by Thor star Chris Hemsworth. They will have seen the recent Star Wars films where female protagonists led the way. They will have sung along to Disney’s Moana and Frozen. They will have seen the first female super hero in Wonder Woman and finally, they will see their first female Time Lord.

“There is still a long way to go where female representation in entertainment is concerned, but if the Jodie Whittaker announcement has done anything, it’s made me feel that finally, we may be getting somewhere.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAhChdgGtHA

Rebecca Bull, founder of My HR Hub

“I was personally surprised that I was actually surprised by Whittaker being announced as Doctor Who’s 13th Time Lord. I think we have all been indoctrinated to think that Dr Who is a male figure. How refreshing for us all, a great move by the BBC.

“Whittaker has been reported in the media as saying: ‘It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be.’

“This is a great accolade for both male and female generations, showing that equality is working towards the norm in society. There are some professions that still create a sexist environment, however, these are now the minority. All over the world we have strong female leaders, the appointment of Whittaker in the iconic Dr Who role is another strong step forwards to banishing sexism in the workplace.”

Arlene Harris, freelance journalist writing for the Irish Times

I don’t see why campaigners feel the need for ‘gender equality’ here. Surely it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility for someone to write an entirely different screenplay where the hero of the hour is female. It strikes me as petty and pointless and undermines the equality argument as there are far bigger issues to be addressed.

“It isn’t just Doctor Who that people are up in arms about; apparently there is inequality at play in the James Bond creative headquarters. Despite the fact that Ian Fleming invented the storyline, based on a fictional, but very much male, secret service spy, and both his books and subsequent films are still as popular now as they were 60 years ago, many people are calling for the next super sleuth to be a woman, called Jane Bond.

“We are living in very uncertain times and with some of the worlds’ most powerful leaders possessing a questionable attitude towards women, it’s time we stopped focusing on fantasy figures and put more effort into promoting and supporting real live women.”

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