It is hugely regrettable that the BBC has lost a broadcaster as brilliant as Carrie Gracie as its China editor. I am one of more than 130 #bbcwomen today who say #IStandWithCarrie over equal pay pic.twitter.com/gvRT6rcA2O— Philippa Thomas (@PhilippaBBC) January 8, 2018
A senior BBC editor and veteran journalist of 30 years resigned from her position because the broadcaster was paying its female employees less than men on average, which she explained in her powerful open letter as a “secretive and illegal” pay culture.
Carrie Gracie, head of BBC China, accused the company of breaking equality laws and discriminating against women.
In the open letter published on her personal website, Gracie called for urgent changes in the sexist practice.
“With great regret, I have left my post as China Editor to speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC,” she wrote. “The BBC belongs to you, the license fee payer. I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure.”
Gracie called the situation a “crisis of trust,” claiming she was paid 33 percent less than her male colleagues. She said she was recently offered an unequal raise that she turned down and was subjected to a “dismayingly incompetent and undermining grievance process which still has no outcome.”
This is when she decided that “enough is enough.”
“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,” Gracie continued. “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.”
The BBC was ordered by the British government to disclose the annual salary distribution of over $202,950, which revealed the male employees earned 9.3 percent more than women. In fact, all top seven earners were reported to be men.
In her letter, Gracie further revealed two of the four international editors in Beijing were men and were paid at least 50 percent more than the two women serving in the same capacity. Gracie recalled she stressed on being paid equally as her male peers when she first joined.
“I told my bosses the only acceptable resolution would be for all the international editors to be paid the same amount,” she added. “The right amount would be for them to decide, and I made clear I wasn’t seeking a pay rise, just equal pay. Instead the BBC offered me a big pay rise which remained far short of equality.”
A BBC spokesperson denied the accusations made by Gracie and said the corporation harbored “no systemic discrimination against women.”
Gracie also revealed a lot of women have made pay complaints but were told there is no gender pay gap at the BBC, prompting her to say she no longer trusts her management to “give an honest answer.”
She is reported to be returning to her former job in the BBC’s TV newsroom and expects to be paid equally there.
Carrie Gracie has spoken on @BBCr4today - after she stepped down from her role as the BBC's China Editor because of what she describes as "an indefensible pay gap between men and women" pic.twitter.com/sIuZsxD5Wq— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) January 8, 2018