The BBC was thrown into turmoil last week amid the revelation of the corporation’s highest paid presenters. The news was met with plenty of controversy, in particular by the leading ladies included on the list, due to the fact that their pay seemed so much lower than their male counterparts.
Now, some of the most high-profile female personalities within the corporation have taken a stand against the apparent pay gap, by signing an open letter to BBC director general Tony Hall.
The big names keen to resolve the disparity include some of our favourite presenters, such as Clare Balding, Victoria Derbyshire, Sue Barker, Alex Jones, and Emily Maitlis, who have called on the media company to “correct” the gap.
The letter went on to say that the pay revelations uncovered “what many of us have suspected for many years… that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work,”
After Hall admitted that there is “more to be done” about the pay gap disparity, the letter continued, to admit that female employees at the BBC are of course paid well – but that it’s not enough.
It read, “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.
The letter finished by stating that the female employees would be calling out the BBC until something was finally done, given how long they’ve known about the issue. It said, “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.”
The women, including Louise Minchin and Gabby Logan, who have signed the letter also remain determined that they’re even willing to meet with Lord Hall in order to have a frank discussion, and in order to ensure that “future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination”.
The open letter finished with a list of around 45 signatures.
But Lord Hall has offered a controversial response to the open letter,
stating simply that he hopes the gap will be closed within three years.
“I have committed the BBC
to closing the gap by 2020 and if we can get there earlier then we
“We are not, however, making a standing start. Work is
already well underway across the organisation to help achieve this.
There will be wider consultation meetings over the next two months so we
can accelerate further change in the autumn.”
Claire Balding herself has even revealed the moment she realised something was amiss in the BBC’s salaries, after appearing on Women’s Hour and noticing her pay was around 40% less than it would have been for similar programmes elsewhere.
She admitted, “We are the high earners, that’s why we are on the list, but don’t tell me that isn’t reflected all the way down [the BBC].
“It is right through and that’s where I think we have got to stand up as the ones who are on the list and say ‘hang on, enough, we can help you with this’.”
Hall continued to state that he believes the next figures would certainly be more promising when looked at again in 2018 – “When figures are published next year I am confident they will look very different.
“When other organisations publish their gender pay data by next April, I want the BBC to be one of the best performers when comparisons are made.
“But beyond that, over the next three years I want the BBC to be regarded as an exemplar on gender and diversity.”