Female BBC stars steal the limelight to demand action over gender pay
“We await the swift release of meaningful data that we can trust and for solutions that will rectify injustices to be put in place before the end of the year. We need full transparency.“Our aim is to change things for women in broadcasting now, and to encourage and reassure young women coming into the industry whatever their role.“We will be monitoring developments to ensure real change happens, and quickly.” Lord Hall, director general of the BBCCredit:Anthony Devlin/PA Mishal Husain, left, and Emily Maitlis, with Jeremy Vine, furthest left, and David DimblebyCredit:BBC Many of the BBC’s most famous female television and radio personalities have attacked the corporation for failing to close the gender pay gap quickly enough. As Lord Hall, the BBC’s director-general, delivered a keynote speech vowing to go “further, faster” to end the disparity between gender pay, female presenters complained the changes were taking too long.The BBC boss had hoped his decision to launch three separate salary reviews would quell the dismay caused by a report revealing how the corporation’s top earners were mainly white and male. The research published in July showed women accounted for just a third of the BBC’s highest earners, with only one woman in the top nine. After the speech was delivered, Razia Iqbal, a Radio 4 presenter, even goaded Jeremy Vine asking if he would retweet the statement “in solidarity with BBC women”.There was no reaction from the presenter, whom it emerged was the BBC’s highest paid journalist on up to £750,000 a year, dwarfing the salary of Fiona Bruce, the highest paid woman journalist who earns up to £400,000.However, Vine has criticised the BBC’s failure to pay women the same as male counterparts. Samira Ahmed, a Radio 4 presenter, also tweeted a call for equal pay, adding “Now, stop the boys’ club privilege”. Clare Balding also declared her support and said: “Interesting announcements today. Much work to be done. Thanks to all (including some men).” ends In his speech to BBC staff, Lord Hall announced a gender pay review, a requirement for all companies employing more than 250 people. Then, the lawyers Eversheds and accountants PwC will carry out an independent equal salary review to try to ensure that people doing the same job are rewarded fairly, and where there is a marked difference it can be justified. Finally, the BBC will conduct a review of its approach to “on air talent”, including presenters, journalists and editors.“Our gap is primarily about the different balance of men and women at different levels. It’s based on the whole picture across the organisation, and the causes tend to be structural, and societal. “That doesn’t mean we should be complacent about it, and I’m determined to close the gap – a commitment I don’t think any other organisation in the country has made.” He added that he had set “ambitious targets” on gender and diversity, adding that the corporation faced “difficult and often deep-rooted challenges”.While the first two reviews will last about six weeks, the analysis of the on air talent salaries is expected to take considerably longer. It was this delay that has angered many women at the BBC. After the corporation had endured months of criticism as well as threats of legal action on the basis of sexual discrimination, Lord Hall blamed “structural and societal” problems within the organisation for the differences in pay between men and women.But even in the run up to his announcement, presenters, including Mishal Husain, Kirsty Wark, Jane Hill, Jane Garvey, Jo Coburn, Joanna Gosling and Victoria Derbyshire, tweeted a statement from BBC Women demanding women received “equal pay and fair pay … now”.“The Director General must be in no doubt about how serious an issue equal and fair pay is for women across the organisation. The BBC should be the standard bearer for this,” the statement reads. Garvey, the Woman’s Hour host, drew up the statement after the Telegraph revealed details of Lord Hall’s planned audit.She then tweeted: “If I’ve learnt anything: women need to get together, stick together, speak up for each other. Or nothing will change.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.