BBC China editor Carrie Gracie quits in equal pay protest

10 January, 2018, 02:15 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • Journalist Carrie Gracie speaks to the media outside BBC Broadcasting House

In an open letter, BBC China's editor Carrie Gracie, accused the corporation of a "secretive and illegal pay culture".

He highlighted the broadcaster's independent judge-led pay audit for "rank-and-file" staff which showed "no systemic discrimination against women" and said a separate report for on-air staff would be published "in the not too distant future". It sucks that you're getting paid less than men.

A spokesperson for the public body said: "We are aware of claims by Carrie Gracie of unlawful pay discrimination at the BBC". Carrie Gracie did not feature on the list, meaning her salary was less than £150,000.

In her letter Gracie said she had learned last year that of the four global editors in the past four years at the BBC, two males had earned more than their female counterparts.

Speaking on BBC Two's Newsnight, employment lawyer Jennifer Millins, who represents several women taking cases against the corporation, said Ms Gracie's case may "give some answers" to other complainants.

However, despite the fact that her resignation made it clear that her issue was with equal pay, a number of media outlets described her resignation as a "gender pay row", including the BBC (which later changed the headline).

It's no secret that most men are paid more than women, even when they are both in the same position. Jeremy Bowen, the Middle East editor, was paid between £150,000 and £199,999.

Gracie said she was dismayed to discover that the BBC's two male worldwide editors earned "at least 50 per cent more" than its two female counterparts.

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China Editor Carrie Gracie announced her resignation in the letter after discovering she earned 50 percent less than her male counterparts.

E!News was shamed live on TV at the Golden Globes on Sunday night by Will & Grace actress Debra Messing who used her airtime to berate the TV channel over long-standing anchor Catt Sadler's resignation. "I simply want the BBC to abide by the law and value men and women equally", Gracie wrote. Many BBC men were also found to be receiving far higher salaries than women in comparable jobs. There is an important distinction between pay equality and the gender pay gap, and if we don't get our understanding right we will never solve the problem of the gender pay gap. Having a gender pay gap (which most organisations will have) is not. Gracie herself was offered a grievance hearing and pay rise, from £135000 to £18000 but she declined.

"For BBC women this is not just a matter of one year's salary or two".

Gracie asserts up to 200 BBC women have made pay complaints "only to be repeatedly told there is no pay discrimination at the BBC". I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure", she said. "On pay, the BBC is not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability. This was accompanied by a powerful letter addressed to the BBC's audience, which highlighted the difference between pay equality and the gender pay gap. "Let us honour that fearless generation by making this the year we win equal pay".

Ms Gracie has resigned her position in Beijing, but continues to work for the BBC in her former post in their London newsroom.

An insider said: 'This whole thing about equal pay for equal jobs is really hard because we don't work in a toothpaste factory'.

According to the Telegraph, the BBC swiftly issued a "reminder" to staff, authorised by the news director Fran Unswoth, that they were bound by impartiality rules and could not report on the story if they had "expressed a view".

The Twitterverse was quick to point out the irony of the situation.

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