Women show support for BBC editor Carrie Gracie after gender pay gap row

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Susan Devaney
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The BBC’s China editor Carrie Gracie says the support she’s been shown after stepping down from her role after 30 years due to a gender pay gap disparity shows a “hunger for change”. 

Journalist Carrie Gracie has received a wealth of support since publishing an open letter, accusing the broadcaster of harvesting a “secretive and illegal pay culture”.

Senior staff members and presenters at the BBC, including Clare Balding, Jane Garvey and Victoria Derbyshire took to Twitter to voice their support using the trending hashtag #IStandWithCarrie, and share their own letter of solidarity with Gracie, saying:

“It is hugely regrettable that an outstanding and award-winning journalist like Carrie Gracie feels she has no option but to resign from her post as China Editor because the BBC has not valued her equally with her male counterparts.

“We wholeheartedly support her and call on the BBC to resolve her case and others without delay, and to urgently address pay inequality across the corporation.

“Up to 200 women that we know of in various pay grades and roles across the BBC have made pay complaints.

“The NUJ alone is involved in more than 120 of these cases.”

Gracie resigned from her post after discovering her male colleagues were earning significantly more than she was.

After tweeting, “wish me luck” on Monday 8 January, Gracie went back on air presenting BBC Radio 4’s Today programme alongside John Humphrys.

“The things have struck me about it are the scale of feeling, not just from BBC women but across the country, does speak to the depth of hunger for an equal, fair and transparent pay system.

“What’s lovely for me is that people are mentioning my China work.

“I do not want to be remembered forever as the woman who complained about money.

“Enough people are saying that [about China] that I know it won’t get buried.”

Many of Gracie’s female colleagues have criticised the BBC on social media:

“In resigning as BBC’s China Editor in a stand against unequal pay, Carrie tells viewers and listeners, ‘I believe you have a right to know that the BBC is breaking equality law’,” Victoria Derbyshire wrote on Twitter.

“Carrie Gracie’s stand is important. It’s about respect as well as reward. We don’t want future female broadcasters, journalists, reporters, commentators, editors and producers to have to fight for the right to be paid equally for doing the same job,” Clare Balding tweeted. 

“Brave, brilliant Carrie please read her letter as she resigns as China editor over,” Jane Garvey wrote. 

“A woman I already greatly admired - now even more so. BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie steps down over over unequal pay,” Naga Munchetty wrote on Twitter. 

“Fairness in pay is vital. A significant number of organisations have now published their gender pay figures showing that we are performing considerably better than many and are well below the national average,” a BBC spokesman said

“Alongside that, we have already conducted an independent judge-led audit of pay for rank and file staff which showed ‘no systemic discrimination against women’.

“A separate report for on-air staff will be published in the not too distant future.”

Gracie said she would return to the TV newsroom “where I expect to be paid equally”.

Images: BBC/Jeff Overs