— BBC GENDER PAY GAP
The BBC’s gender pay issue, highlighted in its recent Annual Report, became top of the News agenda last week. A public resignation from her post as BBC China Editor, in the form of a letter on her personal blog, meant that Carrie Grace was headline news. The letter is addressed to ‘Dear BBC Audience’ and she states that she believes, as licence fee payers, they have a right to know that the BBC ‘is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure’. On her appointment in the newly created role of China Editor she sought assurance that she had pay parity with her male counterparts. Despite this, she subsequently discovered, on publication of the Annual Report, that the two male editors earned at least 50% more than the two women editors. The subsequent offer of a £45,000 pay rise would still not have made her pay equal to her male colleagues, and she declined the offer. As Carrie says, the gender pay gap is about ‘men earning more in the same jobs or jobs of equal value. It is pay discrimination and it is illegal.’ The BBC reported in December that ‘We did a full equal pay audit which showed there is equal pay across the BBC.’ Carrie herself lodged a grievance as have 200 women employed in the BBC. They are asking for their legal right to equal pay for equal work, a right laid down in the 2010 Equality Act. The BBC is not alone in its interpretation of the law, but as a publicly funded institution some people may think it should be leading the way in this area. The right to pay parity with men is an issue that women have fought for over the years and finally, with the Equal Pay Act of 1970, believed they had won. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women being given the right to vote; it seems ironic that the legal right to equal pay is still not being applied as it was intended.