More than 40 high-profile female BBC employees have written an open letter to BBC director-general Tony Hall published today in UK newspapers urging a quick end to gender pay disparities at the pubcaster. It comes after an annual BBC salary report published last week revealed two-thirds of its highest salaries were dished out to men.
The letter, signed by the likes of BBC World News America anchor Katty Kay, BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis and The One Show host Alex Jones, said “the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years” and that the pubcaster “had to be pushed into transparency to do the right thing.”
They also pressed the message today on social media:
The report published last week showed the top seven salaries among staff were men, led by Top Gear presenter and Radio Two DJ Chris Evans earning between £2.2 million ($2.86 million) and £2.25 million ($2.9 million) per year. That’s more than four times the channel’s highest-earning woman, Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman, who makes anywhere between £450,000 ($586,444) and £499,000 ($650,000), making her the eighth-highest paid BBC star.
The revelations have brought a harsh spotlight on the disparity, and Hall admitted that there was “more to do,” saying the pubcaster was “committed to close the gap by 2020.” The letter referenced that timeline and said it wasn’t fast enough.
Here it is:
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.