BBC China editor resigns over gender pay gap

BBC China editor resigns over gender pay gap

BBC China editor resigns over gender pay gap

China Editor Carrie Gracie resigned her position last week, accusing the network of illegal pay discrimination in a letter posted to her personal website.

"Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: "[The letter] makes it clear what a hard decision it has been to speak out about what she calls a crisis of trust at the BBC, but why it is vital that the British public are clear about why she has been forced to resign her post". One of four worldwide editors, she has quit her role in Beijing after it emerged that the Corporation's two male correspondents earned significantly more than their female counterparts.

"They say that this is to "preserve their impartiality" but of course that's now aroused fury and one Labour MP, Jess Phillips, said this is akin to saying "why don't all the little women shut up".

Speaking on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, she said: "In October the BBC made me a pay offer".

It comes months after a report exposed a huge gender pay within its most high-profile BBC journalists and presenters.

"This bunker mentality is likely to end in a disastrous legal defeat for the BBC and an exodus of female talent at every level", Gracie wrote.

In the open letter, Ms Gracie said "the BBC belongs to you, the licence fee payer". It would be the BBC leading the outrage.

Since then there has been increasing discontent at how the BBC has dealt with the backlash. The review also found there was a lack of women in senior roles and that in nearly one in 10 occasions where there was substantial difference in pay between men and women doing similar jobs, there was no clear reason for the disparity other than gender.

The outcome of Ms Gracie's case has not yet been decided.

"Instead the BBC offered me a big pay rise which remained far short of equality".

Gracie's suggestion that the BBC sets up an independent arbitration to settle individual cases is fascinating but also sensible.

She has worked for the BBC for 30 years and was appointed in the newly created China editor role four years ago. Gracie was not on the list, meaning her salary was less than £150,000.

In response to Gracie's letter the BBC has said it is "performing considerably better" than other organisations and pointed to the conclusion of its independent audit.

This is not an easy problem to solve - it could mean substantial pay rises for some staff and pay cuts for others.

Presenting the corporation's flagship "Today" program on Monday alongside John Humphrys, the BBC's highest-paid news broadcaster, Gracie said the support she'd received for her decision had been "very moving" and showed the degree of frustration among many over the issue of equal pay.

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