Female stars make a stand in closing the gender pay gap

Gladys Abbott
January 10, 2018

It's a timely reminder that even when powerful men at the heads of companies are keeping their hands to themselves, they are probably still harming the careers of women in their company by not giving them the same opportunities as men, and not paying them enough.

The UK's equality watchdog is to write to the BBC following the resignation of its former China editor Carrie Gracie amid claims of pay inequality.

She said she resigned as China editor because she could not "collude" in a policy of "unlawful pay discrimination" after discovering an "enormous gap" between her £135,000-a-year salary and that of her male counterparts. (I think I have benefited from that bias). This is largely because women in the NHS dominate lower-paid roles such as catering assistant, health care support worker, domestic assistant and other clinical support staff. However, I don't believe quitting your job is going to help matters.

After learning the truth via the publication of the salaries, Gracie said she told her bosses the "only acceptable resolution would be for all the worldwide editors to be paid the same amount". And this wasn't the first time she had thought she was being paid less by men within the same company.

I accepted the challenges while stressing to my bosses that I must be paid equally with my male peers.

So, once again, women end up out of pocket.

The BBC has been accused by MPs of "suppressing coverage" of the equal pay scandal by taking female presenters who have expressed an opinion off air.

Miss Adler - the fourth worldwide editor - earned less than £150,000 before her pay rise.

So what the heck BBC? Instead the BBC offered me a big pay rise which remained far short of equality. I mean obviously you must have deemed her worthy of getting a raise, yet not worthy enough of being paid the same as men.

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The BBC has kept secret details of which women had pay rises - but the Mail revealed a year ago that Newsnight host Emily Maitlis had her salary hiked by more than £50,000.

"Of course you can say it's hard to quantify when it comes to celebrity status [of journalists] and what pay salaries are based on", Frostrup said.

Many NHS organisations, for example, will report gender pay gaps in excess of 20 per cent.

Yet that's what's causing the controversy in the first place. "Nor could I stay silent and watch the BBC perpetuate a failing pay structure by discriminating against women".

Now of course, there are the arguments that go against women athletes being paid the same as men. In the case of the US men's and women's national soccer teams, more consumers are paying to support the men's team than the women's team, even though the women are more successful. Elsewhere, pay secrecy makes BBC women as vulnerable as they are in many other workplaces. Just look at tennis.

In the past four years, the BBC has had four worldwide editors - two men and two women.

Now, though I don't wholeheartedly agree with these arguments, I do believe they are valid and are worth thinking about when discussing the gender pay gap.

This was accompanied by a powerful letter addressed to the BBC's audience, which highlighted the difference between pay equality and the gender pay gap.

For wider change to happen, people need to draw attention to employers who are failing to abide by the legal requirement to pay men and women the same for the same work.

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