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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

BBC management treat women who fight for equal pay as 'enemies', says broadcaster's former China editor

The BBC's management treat women who fight for equal pay as the 'enemy', says the corporation's former China editor

Journalist Carrie Gracie gives evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. She quit her post to protest the gender pay gap. PA via AP
Journalist Carrie Gracie gives evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. She quit her post to protest the gender pay gap. PA via AP

A senior BBC journalist who quit her post to protest the gender pay gap says management is hurting the corporation's credibility by failing to address the issue.

Carrie Gracie, the broadcaster's former China editor, says BBC managers have treated women who speak out about pay "as some sort of enemy."

Ms Gracie, 55, has said she was told she was paid less than male counterparts because she was "in development".

"It is an insult to add to the original injury. It is unacceptable to talk to your senior women like that," she said.

Ms Gracie has worked for the BBC for more than 30 years.

In a passionate speech, she told the committee of lawmakers on Wednesday the BBC are: "not in the business of producing toothpaste or tyres at the BBC. Our business is truth. We can't operate without the truth.

"If we're not prepared to look at ourselves honestly, how can we be trusted to look at anything else in reporting honestly?"

The BBC have reportedly offered to pay her £100,000 in back pay after the inequality came to light. Ms Gracie said the offer "sounds like a tacit admission of pay discrimination"

Lord Tony Hall, the director-general of the BBC, appeared in front of the committee to answer questions about both Ms Gracie’s individual case and the wide issue of equal pay at the national broadcaster.

Mr Hall said "I hold Carrie in the greatest regard”. He called her work "first rate".

The BBC boss admitted that the outcome of Ms Gracie's grievance procedure "did say very clearly that we got some things wrong".

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Tony Hall tells the committee: "I profoundly believe the BBC needs to demonstrate we are paying equally."

He went on to say that the BBC does not discriminate on gender but he believes there are differences in the amount of work between being editor in China and North America.

Tensions over pay flared last summer when the BBC released a list of top earners that showed many high-profile women earned far less than their male counterparts.

She said that management's failure to address the problem was "damaging the credibility of the BBC in a completely unacceptable way."

Ms Gracie resigned from her post in early January, after learning that male colleagues in similar jobs had much higher salaries.

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