Salford stars urge BBC to 'act now' on gender pay gap

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin

High-profile female broadcasters from Salford have signed an open letter to BBC Director General Tony Hall calling for him to “act now” on the gender pay gap.

BBC Sport’s Clare Balding and Gaby Logan, 5 Live’s Emma Barnett and Rachel Burden, and BBC Breakfast’s Sally Nugent and Louise Minchin were among 45 female staff who signed a letter urging Lord Hall to "correct" the disparity over gender pay, which they say has been known "for years".

Documents released last Wednesday revealed a sizeable gap in the earnings of the Corporation’s highest-paid male and female presenters and actors.

The letter read: “The pay details released in the annual report showed what many of us have suspected for many years ... that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work.

“Compared to many women and men, we are very well compensated and fortunate. However, this is an age of equality and the BBC is an organisation that prides itself on its values.

“You have said that you will ‘sort’ the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.

“Beyond the list, there are so many other areas including production, engineering and support services and global, regional and local media where a pay gap has languished for too long.

“This is an opportunity for those of us with strong and loud voices to use them on behalf of all, and for an organisation that had to be pushed into transparency to do the right thing.

“We would be willing to meet you to discuss ways in which you can correct this disparity so that future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination.”

A BBC spokesman said: “We have made significant changes over the past three years but need to do more. Tony Hall has pledged the BBC will go further, faster. Across the BBC, the average pay of men is 10% higher than women. The national average is 18%.

“We are committing to closing it by 2020 – something no other organisation has committed to doing.

“The BBC’s workforce has been hired over generations and this is complex and cannot be done overnight. We are, however, confident that when these figures are published again next year they will show significant progress towards that goal.

“Tony Hall meets staff all the time and will of course meet individuals to hear their thoughts as we work to accelerate change.”

  • Full list of signatories: Katya Adler, Samira Ahmed, Anita Anand, Wendy Austin, Zeinab Badawi, Clare Balding, Sue Barker, Emma Barnett, Fiona Bruce, Rachel Burden, Annabel Croft, Martine Croxal, Victoria Derbyshire, Katie Derham, Lyse Doucet, Jane Garvey, Karin Giannone, Fi Glover, Joanna Gosling, Carrie Gracie, Orla Guerin, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Lucy Hockings, Mishal Husain, Alex Jones, Katty Kay, Martha Kearney, Kirsty Lang, Gabby Logan, Annita McVeigh, Kasia Madera, Emily Maitlis, Louise Minchin, Aasmah Mir, Sarah Montague, Sally Nugent, Elaine Paige, Carolyn Quinn, Angela Rippon, Ritula Shah, Kate Silverton, Charlotte Smith, Sarah Smith, Kirsty Wark.