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BBC presenters call for closure of gender pay gap before 2020 target

By | Published on Monday 24 July 2017


More than 40 of the BBC’s most high profile female presenters have signed an open letter calling on the broadcaster to close its gender pay gap.

As previously reported, last week the BBC revealed the names and approximate salaries of on-air talent who are paid more than £150,000 a year. On the list, around two thirds were men, with female presenters being shown to earn less than their male counterparts for doing the same work.

A number of male presenters came forward and said that something should be done. Although at a time when the BBC is under pressure to cut costs, this may mean some of them taking a pay cut. Director General Tony Hall also said that the broadcaster was working to overcome this issue by 2020.

The new open letter says that setting a target for 2020 isn’t good enough, and a balance for pay between the genders should be reached sooner. Among those who have signed the letter are Clare Balding, Victoria Derbyshire, Emily Maitlis, Sue Barker, Fiona Bruce and Alex Jones.

“Compared to many women and men, we are very well compensated and fortunate”, says the letter. “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”.

The letter also notes that this is not just an issue that affects those on-air, but that it also extends to behind the scenes staff throughout the organisation.

A BBC spokesperson said that significant progress had been made on the gender pay gap in recent years, but acknowledged that more “needs to be done”. They also noted that the average pay of male BBC employees is currently 10% higher than women, better than the national average of 18%.

“The BBC’s workforce has been hired over generations and this is complex and cannot be done overnight”, they said. “We are, however, confident that when these figures are published again next year they will show significant progress towards that goal”.