BEIJING — One of the BBC’s top journalists, Carrie Gracie, has resigned from her China post over what she called a “secretive and illegal” pay structure that had her male peers making 50 percent more than her.
In an open letter published Sunday evening, Gracie, who served as China editor, said the public broadcaster faced a “crisis of trust” because it routinely paid men more than women for the same work.
“The BBC belongs to you, the licence fee payer. I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure,” she wrote.
— Katty Kay (@KattyKayBBC) January 7, 2018
Gracie’s resignation comes after the BBC went public with a list of its highest-paid employees — and the vast majority were men. The disclosures saw some of the BBC’s biggest stars, including Gracie, calling publicly for pay equity using the hashtag “#BBCWomen.”
The BBC conducted an audit, only to determine there was no gap — a finding Gracie contests.
In the letter, Gracie said the BBC has four international editors, two male and two female. She said she learned last summer that the two men earned 50 percent more than the two women.
“Despite the BBC’s public insistence that my appointment demonstrated its commitment to gender equality, and despite my own insistence that equality was a condition of taking up the post, my managers had yet again judged that women’s work was worth much less than men’s,” she wrote.
Gracie asked for parity, but did not get it. So, she is leaving the China post and returning to the newsroom, where she “expects to be paid equally.”
“Enough is enough. The rise of China is one of the biggest stories of our time and one of the hardest to tell. I cannot do it justice while battling my bosses and a byzantine complaints process,” she wrote.
Journalists in both Britain and China applauded her and expressed solidarity using the hashtag “#IStandWithCarrie.”
— Maria Byrne (@byrnemaria) January 7, 2018
“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,” she wrote.