BBC’s China editor quits in protest of gender pay gap

by Adelle Chua12 Jan 2018
The China editor of the BBC has resigned over continuing gender pay gap at the network.

Carrie Gracie, who has worked at the BBC for 30 years, decried the corporation’s secretive and illegal pay culture. She said there was a “crisis of trust” at the BBC and that it was “not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability,” reported the South China Morning Post.

“The BBC must admit the problem, apologise and set in place an equal, fair and transparent pay structure,” she said.

In July 2017, the BBC published a list of top-earning on-air stars – just a third were women and the top seven were all men. The resulting furor led BBC to review its pay structure.

The review found that men were being paid 9.3% more than women on average, and that nearly 500 workers may be getting paid less than their colleagues in a similar role because of their gender. 

Gracie first wrote an open letter to BBC license fee payers.

“Salary disclosures the BBC was forced to make six months ago revealed not only unacceptably high pay for top presenters and managers but also an indefensible pay gap between men and women doing equal work,” she said.

“These revelations damaged the trust of BBC staff. For the first time, women saw hard evidence of what they’d long suspected, that they are not being valued equally.”

Gracie added that many have since sought pay equality through internal negotiation. Managers, however, still deny the problem.

“This bunker mentality is likely to end in a disastrous legal defeat for the BBC and an exodus of female talent at every level.”

Over the last four years, she said, the BBC has had four international editors – two men and two women. However, the men earned at least 50% more than the women.

While the BBC had offered a pay raise, it was still not equal with the rate for her male peers. BBC had failed to provide reasons for the difference.

“Patience and goodwill are running out,” Gracie said.

But a BBC spokesperson said an independent judge-led audit of pay for rank-and-file staff showed “no systemic discrimination against women”.

Fairness is vital, the BBC acknowledged, as it vowed to publish a separate report for on-air staff “in the not-so-distant-future”.

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