Former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie presents Today programme amid BBC unequal pay row

The broadcaster quit her role last week, accusing the BBC of presiding over a "secretive and illegal pay culture"

(BBC Radio 4, JG)

Carrie Gracie said she has been “very moved” by the scale of support after she quit as BBC China Editor over pay inequality.

Advertisement

The journalist and broadcaster was in the bizarre position of presenting Radio 4’s Today programme while her open letter challenging the BBC of presiding over a “secretive and illegal pay culture” led the agenda.

While Gracie could not directly discuss the story with co-presenter John Humphrys, she did say that the response “speaks to the depth of hunger for an equal, fair and transparent pay system”.

Gracie will be interviewed later this Monday 8th January on BBC Woman’s Hour.

Gracie was appointed the BBC’s first China Editor in 2014, but resigned last week citing pay inequality with male colleagues.

In an open letter published on her website, she accused the BBC of “breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure.”

Gracie, who has worked for the BBC for over 30 years, wrote, “In the past four years, the BBC has had four international editors – two men and two women. The Equality Act 2010 states that men and women doing equal work must receive equal pay. But last July I learned that in the previous financial year, the two men earned at least 50% more than the two women.

“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.”

The BBC salary reveal in July 2016 revealed that US editor Jon Sopel earned between £200,000 and £249,999, while Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned between £150,000 and £199,999. Gracie was not included on the list, meaning her salary was less than £150,000.

Gracie explained she was leaving her post as BBC China Editor and returning to work in the BBC TV newsroom.

Many listeners messaged to praise Gracie for her professionalism in presenting Today while also being the subject of the main BBC news bulletins.

Journalist Mariella Frostrup appeared on the programme to discuss the BBC gender pay row with Gracie’s co-presenter Humphrys.

More than a hundred BBC colleagues backed Gracie’s stance on equal pay, with the campaign group BBC Women releasing a statement calling on the BBC to “resolve her case without delay, and to urgently address pay inequality across the corporation”.

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said that “fairness in pay is vital”, adding, “A significant number of organisations have now published their gender pay figures showing that we are performing considerably better than many and are well below the national average.

“Alongside that, we have already conducted a independent judge led audit of pay for rank and file staff which showed ‘no systemic discrimination against women’.

“A separate report for on air staff will be published in the not too distant future.”

Advertisement

Read Carrie Gracie’s letter in full here.