Why this story matters:
Unfair pay situations could finally change for female media workers in Britain.
A prominent British journalist refused to stay silent about wage inequality at the BBC, with a resignation that sparked a national debate on the gender pay gap in the UK.
Earlier this month, Carrie Gracie quit her role as China editor after learning that she was being paid 50 percent less than two male international editors in a move that became known and discussed throughout the country.
In a 1,400-word open letter published on her personal website, Gracie said she resigned “to speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC.” She said the licence fee payer of the BBC had a “right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure.”
“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,” she added.
Newly-appointed culture secretary Matthew Hancock said “much more action” was needed at the BBC to address issues of pay.
The BBC then faced further fire for using impartiality rules to discourage staff from publicly advocating for pay equality after Gracie's resignation. It was criticized for attempting to "shut down" Gracie's story, when it took presenter Winifred Robinson off the air for tweeting support for equal pay at the BBC.
The outrage didn't end there.
Prominent BBC presenter John Humphrys made British women "fume" for joking about the BBC pay gap in a leaked recording in which he asked his colleague, Jon Sopel: “How much of your salary are you prepared to hand over to Carrie Grace to keep her?”
British women and their allies may "fume" even more in the near future, as companies are forced to become more transparent about gender wage gaps.
More than 540 Britain-based firms, including the BBC, revealed their pay figures ahead of an April cut-off date requiring companies with 250 or more workers to publish their wages.
Details from the story:
- BBC China editor Carrie Gracie quit her international role after learning that she was being paid 50 percent less than two male counterparts.
- Women's mean hourly rate at the BBC is 10.7% lower, according to the BBC.
- Companies with 250 or more workers have been required to publish their wage figures under a new legal requirement.
- Women earn as little as half per hour than men at airline Easyjet, 33 percent less at Virgin Money and 15 percent less per hour at betting shop Ladbrokes