Discrimination at Work
BBC gender pay gap row - will it affect you?July 24, 2017
Feathers flew when the BBC disclosed the pay of its top presenters last week. Female staff soon rightly complained to the Director General about the huge gender pay gap that had become apparent. In a letter signed by over 40 high-profile women, the BBC stands accused of knowing about pay disparities for years, and has been called upon to ‘act now’.
Why on earth (you might wonder) are the top 6 highest paid BBC presenters all male? Why is it that two-thirds of these people earning more than £150,000, are all men? Can it really be right that Chris Evans is worth more than 5 times the highest paid woman, Claudia Winkleman? Or that Claire Balding is worth less than one-tenth of Gary Lineker? Or Kirsty Wark less than half of Eddie Mair? Hardly.
In law, men and women must be paid the same for work of equal value. The reason why this might not happen in practice, may be down to a number of reasons. These include blatant discrimination; women falling behind when they take career breaks for children and caring responsibilities, and the possibility that women generally may not be so... well, demanding when it comes to pay demands.
Pay discrepancies between the sexes can be justified on objective grounds. However, the huge gender pay gap in the BBC hardly seems to be capable of objective justification, and it will be interesting to see how the Beeb seeks to rectify what looks like blatantly sexist practice.
We also suspect that the BBC is not at all exceptional when it comes to paying male staff more than their female equivalents. Whether our suspicions are correct, will be demonstrated next spring. From April this year, it became compulsory for employers with at least 250 staff to publish pay information – and they have 12 months to do so. Look out for more yawning gaps in the pay of men and women becoming public knowledge.
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