The BBC is coming under increasing pressure to pay male and female employees an equal wage after some of the corporation’s top talent called for it to “rectify injustices” by the end of the year.
Mishal Husain, Victoria Derbyshire and Kirsty Wark are among those demanding director general Tony Hall ensure “fair pay” across the organisation.
The #BBCWomen statement today (Wednesday) comes after a huge pay disparity between the corporation’s male and female employees was exposed in July when salaries were published of talent earning more than £150,000 a year.
In a statement, BBC Women said that the corporation should be the “standard bearer for this in the media” and that it was important to challenge the disparity now in order to encourage young women entering the industry in the future.
“Full transparency” is needed, the statement said, as staff called for solutions to be put in place before the end of the year.
Among those sharing the statement were Newsnight’s Wark, Radio 4 Today presenter Husain and sports presenter Clare Balding.
And it wasn’t just female staff at the BBC who shared concerns:
Speaking about the BBC’s autumn priorities on Wednesday, Hall addressed the issue of fairness and pay at the corporation, which he said was a “big priority”.
He said that the BBC will “look across each and every job because I want you to be confident that you’re paid fairly”.
“These are difficult and often deep-rooted challenges. And they are not unique to the BBC. But I see this as a moment of real opportunity for us,” he said.
“I’m determined that the BBC should lead the way - on gender, diversity, and equality.
“I want to assure you that I’m personally committed to making these changes. I also recognise that you’ll judge this by what we do and not just what we say.”
Hall said that a report has been commissioned on the corporation’s gender pay gap and that an independent audit is being carried out of equal pay covering staff based in the UK.
Figures released in the summer showed that the BBC’s highest paid star was Chris Evans, who took home pay of at least £2.24 million last year.
He was joined by Gary Lineker (at least £1.75m), Graham Norton (£850,000), and Jeremy Vine (£700,000).
Meanwhile, the top female earners were ‘Strictly’ host Claudia Winkleman (at most £499,999), the ‘One Show’s’ Alex Jones (at most £449,999), Fiona Bruce and Tess Daly (both at most £399,999).
When asked if he was shamed by the pay gap exposed by the figures, Hall said at the time: “I’d say I am reinvigorated in achieving equality by 2020 between men and women.”
Asked whether the revelation of a gender pay gap will mean the list becomes a “lawyer’s charter” for those women who challenge the disparity in pay, Hall said the BBC would continue to talk to its top talent.
Just nine women earned over £250,000 while 25 men earned that amount.