We Need To Talk About The BBC’s Cavernous Gender Pay Gap

Laura Kuenssberg - BBC pay gap
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg will find out how her salary compares to male reporters today - Photo by Getty

We are shocked but are far from surprised to learn that the BBC doesn’t just have a gender pay gap – it has an equality sinkhole.

The broadcaster has admitted to having a bit of a problem after it found that two thirds of its highest paid stars are men. Out of the 96 big names earning upwards of £150,000, 62 are male and just 34 are female.

“Is that where we want to be? No,” director-general Lord Hall said as he released the annual report.

According to the Telegraph, the news has already sparked a backlash from female presenters. One household name told the publication that the BBC was saturated with “male ‘intellectual titans’ with egos the size of planets” who successfully demanded high salaries.

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Another added that female staff need to use the report findings to request that their salaries are matched with their male counterparts accordingly.

“Women have got to get serious and stick up for each other. If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” the source said.

It’s sure to be an uncomfortable day for many in the corporation, not least those named as top earners, with pay packets that dwarf that of their equally known and hard-working female colleagues.

But discomfort – mixed with a dash of defiance and confidence – is what is needed to catalyse change and improve gender and diversity in one of the most trusted organisations in the UK. One that, it’s worth remembering, is also paid for using public money.

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Lord Hall went on to boast that the BBC were “most certainly” doing better than other broadcasters when it came to gender, but admitted improvements need to be made.

Here’s hoping this underwhelming revelations encourages the likes of ITV and Sky News to examine their own pay gaps closely and set an example to the rest of the business world by putting an end to financial injustice.

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