Senior BBC Editor Quits Over Gender Pay Gap

Image via AP
Image via AP

A top editor at the British Broadcasting Corporation has announced she will resign from her position because of the BBC’s “secretive and illegal” pay structure, which over the summer was revealed to pay some female employees significantly less than their male colleagues on average.


BuzzFeed reports that Carrie Gracie, who has worked for the BBC for 30 years and currently heads BBC China, disclosed her resignation in a letter to BBC viewers, alleging the corporation was “breaking equality laws” by paying women less than men. She called the pay gap a “crisis of trust,” noting she was paid 33 percent less than the male editors at BBC’s international desks and was recently offered an unequal raise.

“Despite the BBC’s public insistence that my appointment demonstrated its commitment to gender equality, and despite my own insistence that equality was a condition of taking up the post, my managers had yet again judged that women’s work was worth much less than men’s,” she wrote, adding, “It is not men earning more because they do more of the jobs which pay better. It is men earning more in the same jobs or jobs of equal value.”

In July, the British government ordered the BBC to disclose the salaries of employees making an annual salary of over £150,000 to the public. That disclosure revealed that male stars earned quite a bit more than female presenters, and after a rightful outcry, the corporation commissioned an internal review of its pay structure, which, as the Guardian points out, found men on average earned about 9.3 percent more than women.

In her letter, Gracie noted that two of the four international editors at the BBC were male, and alleged they earned at least 50 percent more than the two female editors. Gracie also claimed that the BBC’s own pay structure review did not reflect the extent of the wage gap, as BBC women discovered when they took the initiative to share their salaries with their male coworkers. “Up to two hundred BBC women have made pay complaints only to be told repeatedly there is no pay discrimination at the BBC,” Gracie wrote. “Can we all be wrong? I no longer trust our management to give an honest answer.”

A BBC spokesperson told the Guardian in a statement that a recent review of rank and file staff revealed the corporation harbored ‘no systemic discrimination against women,’ and that when compared with other organizations that have disclosed their salaries, the BBC is “performing considerably better than many and are well below the national average.” Gracie, meanwhile, says she will be taking a position in the BBC newsroom, where she hopes to be paid equally.

You can read Gracie’s full letter here.


Mortal Dictata

To add more information regarding the male international editors Jon Sopel in the US earnt £200-250k and Jeremy Bowen in the Middle East earnt £150-200k while given that neither of the female editors had to disclose their wages it means they earn <£150k each.

While some gap is understandable given they work in different regions of the world with different “importance” the fact that the it’s tens of thousands if not >£100k more between her wage and Jon’s is clearly indefensible.

On twitter both male and female members of BBC News are all standing with her in that pay at the BBC is a mess when it comes to the “on air” roles, with many people holding multiple roles and there not being clear set levels of pay for similar roles.

Edit: Important to note Carrie hasn’t quit the BBC as a whole as far as I’m aware but is returning to BBC News presenting rather than being BBC China editor. It’s a shame that it’s happening under these circumstances as herself and Simon McCoy, who’s hilarious in his brutal honesty with viewers such as when he was not too pleased with covering the Royal Baby news, are a great double act on the channel so if they’re reunited that’ll be great.