Senior editor for BBC News, Carrie Gracie, resigned from her post accusing the company of a “secretive and illegal” system to determine salaries, paying men more than women.
The Gender Pay Gap
Gracie accused the BBC of paying male journalists more than females, even when they were in similar jobs. The now-former senior editor had been with the network for over three decades. She quit as China editor last week as a form of protest of the company’s policy of pay inequality.
To share the reason for her resignation, Gracie added a post to her own website in the form of a letter. She stated that she and other female coworkers had long suspected that they were not earning as much as their male counterparts. Moreover, Gracie wrote that the management at the BBC refused to acknowledge that there was an issue.
The decision to go public with this story would have risked facing discipline or she may even have been fired. That said, she felt it was important that BBC viewers know that the network had been “resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure.”
Therefore, she chose to preemptively resign in order to be able to share her story and the gender inequality of which she has accused the BBC in the form of a pay gap.
“I simply want the BBC to abide by the law and value men and women equally,” she wrote in the letter which cited the Equality Act of 2010. That law requires companies to pay men and women equal pay when they have equal work within that company. “On pay, the BBC is not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability.”
Timing with #MeToo
Gracie’s resignation and letter of protest have occurred as many news media organizations around the world face similar accusations of gender discrimination with the BBC itself now being questioned by the The Equalities and Human Rights Commission. This has been particularly powerful in the United States, where the #MeToo movement was launched. Still, gender discrimination and sexual misconduct is clearly far from being exclusive to that North American country.
In an industry with a long history of male dominance, women continue to struggle for equal treatment regardless of national laws requiring it.