Resignation of Carrie Gracie, BBC China Editor, Resurfaces Pay Row

Resignation of Carrie Gracie, BBC China Editor, Resurfaces Pay Row

2018-01-09 03:51:12

“I was not interested in more money,” Ms. Gracie said on Monday. “I was interested in equality, and I kept saying to my managers that I didn’t need more money; I just needed to be made equal and that can be done in a variety of ways.”

Ms. Gracie had been one of four international editors at the BBC. For the year that ended in March 2017, Jon Sopel, the North America editor, was paid between £200,000 and £249,999 annually, according to the data released by the BBC. Jeremy Bowen, the Middle East editor, was paid between £150,000 and £199,999.

But Ms. Gracie and Katya Adler, the Europe editor, did not make the £150,000 threshold to have their salaries made public.

“I just decided that enough was enough,” Ms. Gracie said. “I could not go back to China and collude knowingly in what I considered to be unlawful pay discrimination.” She said that she had entered a formal grievance process, but that there had been little progress.

Several of her colleagues voiced support for her decision.

Ms. Adler described Ms. Gracie’s resignation as a “huge loss,” and Sarah Montague, a presenter on the broadcaster’s flagship morning radio program, “Today,” said in a tweet that she was “brave and brilliant.”

“Not sure what is so hard to understand about #equalpay for equal work,” Ms. Montague wrote.

And Kirsty Wark, a presenter on the BBC’s nightly television current affairs program, “Newsnight,” added that she was “proud to stand with” Ms. Gracie. All four women were among the 42 who called on the BBC to take action to close the gender pay gap.

The debate over the gender pay gap has grown louder in Britain in recent months, particularly after the government required large companies to publish the average salaries of the men and women they employ. These companies have until April 2018 to report the information. British law already requires that men and women should receive equal pay for the same job, a fact Ms. Gracie pointed to in her resignation letter.

At least in the case of the BBC, Ms. Gracie’s resignation could force the broadcaster to do more to resolve disparities.

“She’s a competent woman, she’s highly qualified,” said Marianna Fotaki, professor of business ethics at Warwick Business School. “It gives courage to other, less prominent women to come forward.”

In a statement, the broadcaster said an independent audit of pay showed “no systemic discrimination against women,” and added that it was “performing considerably better than many” other organizations that had published their gender pay figures.

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