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Gender Pay Gap- BBC Veteran quits China Editor post in protest

In a move which has astounded her bosses, Carrie Gracie – a highly respected veteran who has been with the BBC for 30 years- has announced her resignation.

The sole reason for her resignation is the fact that the BBC network has refused to match her pay with male colleagues who earn 50% more than she does.

Gracie – who is the BBC's China editor, abruptly tendered her resignation from her job in the Beijing bureau. She accused the BBC of encouraging a gender pay gap. Gracie intends to return to her former position in the television newsroom in London, where she says she expects to be paid equally. This point was addressed very clearly in an open letter which was published in her personal blog.

Her blog addresses the fact that in the last four years the BBC has had four international editors, two of whom were men, and two women. The Equality Act 2010 (Britain) clearly states that men and women doing the same work must receive the same pay. However, in July of last year Gracie found out that the two men who were employed had in fact earned at least 50% more than the women.

Gracie insists that she was not looking for a pay rise, merely that all international editors be paid the same, and this was the only acceptable resolution for her. The amount of pay would be for the company to decide. The network did not accept her point of view, choosing instead to offer her a big pay rise, which still remained far below what the men had earned. The reason given was that there were differences between the roles, and these differences justified the pay gap. They omitted to give the reasons, and Gracie turned down the pay rise.

Since she declined the pay rise, Gracie says that she has been subjected to an alarmingly incompetent and humiliating grievance procedure, which has yet to reach a conclusion.

The Guardian commented that Gracie is without a doubt one of the BBC's most talented journalists. Many leading BBC presenters including Sarah Montague, Clare Balding, and Kirsty Wark, have since joined the #IstandWithCarrie# in order to support her.

When asked to comment on the resignation, the BBC responded by saying that they found 'no systemic discrimination against women' who were working at the network.

On Monday Gracie co-hosted the BBC's Today Radio Show along with John Humphrys, and as was to be expected, her open letter was one of the topics which came under discussion. What was surprising was the fact that Gracie was not permitted to join in the conversation.

It seems that the BBC has a rule that presenters cannot suddenly turn into interviewees on any programme the are presenting. Humphrys – while insisting that he was not doing an interview – did question Gracie briefly about her letter.

Gracie says that the whole episode has been deeply moving for her, with two things coming to light. Firstly the scale of feeling in women across the world for an equal and transparent pay system. Secondly, Gracie feels very moved that people remember her work in China. She would not wish to be remembered as the woman who complained about money. Gracie would like to be remembered as someone who did great work in China, and she has no doubt that this will happen.

In order to discuss Gracie's letter, along with pay equality at the BBC, Humphrys went on to interview journalist Mariella Frostrup. Frostrup was very forthright in the interview, saying that pay inequality had only marginally improved over the years she had been working. It is time that this sort of thing came to an end.

Taking this one step further, Frostrup told Humphrys that she more than likely earned about a tenth of what he did. Humphrys is well-known as the BBC's highest paid news presenter, and earns over £800,000 a year. Frostrup, on the other hand, earns less than £200,000 a year.


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