The BBC, which is in the middle of dealing with a gender pay row at the corporation, has now found itself under attack for class bias after one of its most-high profile presenters said “posh” women were paid a “hell of a lot more than me.”
Steph McGovern, who presents the breakfast news on BBC One and has hosted a number of series including Shop Well For Less?, made the claims in an explosive interview with the Sunday Times newspaper.
She said, “It’s not as simple as a gender issue, it’s partly down to class. There are a lot of women who do a similar job to me who are paid a hell of a lot more… who are a lot posher than me.
“We concentrate too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class. It’s dead important to represent loads of different cultures. But what the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds. It’s just posh.”
McGovern admitted that she had received a “significant” pay rise as part of the BBC’s wide-ranging scheme to reduce its gender pay gap. However, she says there is still a wider problem at the British broadcaster.
This comes a month after Carrie Gracie, the BBC’s top journalist in China, resigned from her position after she discovered that a number of men in similar positions were paid more than her. It sparked a major pay crisis at the corporation and led to an announcement that a number of female news presenters would receive substantial pay rises as part of a full-scale review of on-air pay.
The BBC has also recently published a five-point plan to help “create a fairer and more equal” organization, carried out in association with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and last week launched a separate review, led by BBC Scotland chief Donalda McKinnon, to “sweep away” any barriers to women progressing at the corporation.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “More than 80% of the BBC’s workforce was educated in state schools and the BBC is more diverse than it has ever been. The BBC has a clear commitment to finding and developing new talent. We offer hundreds of apprenticeships to ensure the BBC is open to people from all backgrounds and a range of programmes to help people develop their career once they’ve joined, but there’s always more to do and we have an ambitious diversity strategy which sets out our commitment to fully reflecting and representing the whole of the UK.”