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24 July 2017

WFTV’s CEO responds to BBC Gender Pay Gap

 

 

 

 

Bashing the  BBC over its absurd pay gap is rapidly becoming a blood sport but, of course,  the problem is industry-wide. Let’s build on this exposure by pushing for ITV, Channel 4 and the media generally to publish their salary details too.

Working in the media has become increasingly freelance, and precarious, and the bottom line is that employers will pay what they think they can get away with. Why do they think they can get away with paying women so much less than men?

Before we become absorbed in navel-gazing indignation, let’s also look at the wider picture. There are many industries where women lose out. The real question – going far beyond a few highly paid TV presenters – is how do we fix the problem?

How much you or your neighbours paid for your homes used to be a closely guarded secret. The Land Registry now publishes property sale prices for all to see and this sudden orgy of openness has caused no discernible damage. Instead, both buyers and sellers have a more realistic view of the market.

The same should apply to pay. Total pay transparency would transform everything. It is hard to see what purpose is served by secrecy over pay, other than allowing employers to fool some of their employees that they are being paid the going rate for the job when they are not.  We can already learn what many politicians, civil servants and NHS workers earn. Why not the rest of us? From the shelf stacker to the  Premier League footballer, let’s publish their earnings. And where discrepancies are glaring (everywhere, I’d guess) then let the employers justify them to their employees. If transparency encourages your competitors to offer an employee more money – well, that’s the market operating and perhaps you need to pay your employee what she’s worth.

Nothing could do more to produce greater fairness in pay – not just for women, but for all of us.

Kate Kinninmont MBE