BBC editor quits China post over pay discrimination

10 January, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Kathy Ellis
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She concluded her letter by standing up for other women who are dealing with pay issues in the industry, writing, "I wish you the solidarity of a strong sisterhood and the support of male colleagues". Humphrys earns between £600,000 and £649,000 a year.

"I believe you have a right to know that it [the BBC] is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure", writes Gracie in the letter.

"But I was not interested in more money I was interested in equality".

Gracie said managers had offered to increase her pay to 180,000 pounds, but that was no solution.

The BBC has come under fire recently for paying male employees more and has pledged to close the gender gap by 2020.

New regulations in the United Kingdom have made pay differences between men and women in larger companies such as the BBC more transparent in recent months, leading to a revolt by females in top jobs both here and overseas in the US. According to last July's disclosures, North America Editor Jon Sopel earned between 200,000 and 250,000 pounds a year, while Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen was in the 150,000 to 200,000 bracket. The Equality Act 2010 states that men and women doing equal work must receive equal pay.

Gracie, who speaks fluent Mandarin and has reported on China for three decades, has not left the BBC.

Carrie Gracie has publicly quit her role as the BBC's China Editor over the gender pay gap.

So what is a leading female news editor to do - especially when one of her demands when she initially took the job was that she be paid the same as her male counterparts?

Carrie gracie gender pay gap
By Joi Ito from Cambridge MA USA, via Wikimedia Commons

Gracie was recruited to the job - and recruited is the word: they sought her out, because she had all the talent and skills the BBC needed to cover the huge, hard worldwide and domestic story of the rise of China.

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

Neither Gracie or BBC Europe editor Katya Adler appeared on the BBC salary list which made public the salaries of all employees earning more than AU$259,122 a year (£150,000).

One of the conditions she set for taking it was equal pay with the corporation's other worldwide editors, familiar names including Jon Sopel in Washington and Jeremy Bowen in the Middle East. It is men earning more in the same jobs or jobs of equal value.

But she added that pay could be "very tricky" if someone is hired externally, but has higher pay because they work in a competitive field or have worked in warzones, for example. The BBC, as a public service broadcaster, paid by us, has an even greater duty to ensure women journalists of the same rank as men and those doing work of equal value get parity. "Let us honour that fearless generation by making this the year we win equal pay".

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it would consider whether further action is required based on the corporation's response.

Could Carrie Gracie take BBC to tribunal? Management have reportedly advised staff in the meeting to enforce the BBC's impartiality existing guidelines in relation to the story.

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC was one of the first to publish a gender pay report showing we are significantly better than the national average".

The case could quickly become a reputational issue for the BBC if more women do resign over the matter, Women's Hour presenter Jane Garvey told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I fear that there might be more situations like the one we're in".

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