The BBC’s most high-profile personalities demand the corporation tackle its gender pay gap after it revealed the on-screen staff who earn more than £150,000 and exposed unequal pay between men and women.
Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, Today programme hosts Mishal Husain and Sarah Montague, journalist Victoria Derbyshire and presenter Clare Balding were among 44 women who signed an open letter to director general Tony Hall urging change
The new figures, published on Wednesday, come after the BBC commissioned the equal pay audit of its staff to determine if there were any systemic issues in how it pays men and women.
It examined staff who “are not senior managers, on air editors, presenters or correspondents”, promising a separate review into its approach to on-air presenters, editors and correspondents to conclude at the end of the year. It will also look at how the BBC addresses issues related to the list of talent paid more than £150,000.
The 9.3 percent median equal pay audit average is against a national average of 18.1 percent and was carried out by Sir Patrick Elias (a former Court of Appeal judge) and conducted by consultancy firm PwC and legal firm Eversheds.
In the review, Sir Patrick said: “The conclusion in the report that there is no systematic discrimination against women in the BBC’s pay arrangements for these staff is, in my judgement, amply borne out by the statistical evidence and is further supported by the analysis of particular cases carried out by Eversheds.”
Director General Tony Hall said: “Fairness in pay is vital. We have pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2020 and have targets for quality and diversity on our airwaves. We have done a lot already, but we have more to do.
“While today’s reports show that we are in a better place than many organizations, I want a BBC that is exemplar not just in the media but in the country – when it comes to pay, fairness, gender and representation – and what can be achieved. This is an essential part of modernising the BBC. And, if the BBC is to truly reflect the public it serves, then the makeup of our staff must reflect them.”
Documents setting out the pay for staff on more than £150,000 released earlier this year revealed a sizeable gap in the earnings of the corporation’s best-known male and female presenters and actors.
Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans was the top earner at the BBC on more than £2m, while the highest paid woman was Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman in the substantially lower £450,000 – £499,999 pay bracket.
In the letter to Hall, signatories said they were prepared to meet him “so that future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination.”
It said: “The pay details released in the Annual report showed what many of us have suspected for many years … that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work.”
“Compared to many women and men, we are very well compensated and fortunate. However, this is an age of equality and the BBC is an organisation that prides itself on its values.
“You have said that you will ‘sort’ the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years.
“We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.”
Discrimination is taking a new turn nowadays, sometimes race and sometimes gender.
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