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08 January 2018

Carrie Gracie Resigns as BBC’s China Editor Because of Pay Inequality And Calls for Change

Carrie Gracie has resigned from her role as China Editor at the BBC, citing pay inequality with her male colleagues as the reason. Gracie, who has worked at the BBC for over 30 years also released an open letter to the BBC’s audience detailing the inequality she faced and calling on the organisation to change.

In her letter, Gracie notes how, when the BBC was forced to release pay information last year, she discovered that male colleagues in the same role as her were being paid 50% more.

She writes: ‘It is not men earning more because they do more of the jobs which pay better. It is men earning more in the same jobs or jobs of equal value. It is pay discrimination and it is illegal.’

The letter goes on to call for wide reaching change at the BBC and beyond. ‘The BBC must admit the problem, apologise and set in place an equal, fair and transparent pay structure… Meanwhile we are by no means the only workplace with hidden pay discrimination and the pressure for transparency is only growing. I hope rival news organisations will not use this letter as a stick with which to beat the BBC, but instead reflect on their own equality issues.’

Gracie’s actions have drawn support from colleagues at the BBC – both female and male – with the hashtag #IStandWithCarrie being used on social media. Journalist and presenter Jane Hill tweeted ‘This is for women of any age in any workplace’, whilst Political Correspondent Chris Mason called the letter ‘brave, thoughtful, powerful, forensic, dignified.’

WFTV Chief Executive Kate Kinninmont commented: “Carrie Gracie’s bold resignation from her post as the BBC’s China Editor highlights the ongoing problem at the BBC. Around 200 women there have made formal protests against their unfair treatment and the revelations that the BBC’s Middle East Editor and the American Editor (both men) are paid massively more than Gracie brings the issue into sharp relief.

Many of the men, John Humphrys included, have the good grace to be embarrassed about the inequity. (Humphrys is paid more than four times as much as Sarah Montague, his fellow presenter on the Today programme).

Of course the problem is not just with the BBC. In fact, it’s probably worse elsewhere. But the BBC sets a standard and, at the moment, it’s failing to live up to it.

From my own conversations with the Director General, Tony Hall, I believe he is sincere in trying to fix this problem. But he now has to move more rapidly to do so. With MeToo and Time’s Up the mood has changed. Patience is running short. Equal pay for equal work was mandated in law in 1970. It’s time to make it happen.”