Equality legislation must be redesigned.
Published 7 January
Carrie Gracie has resigned from her job as the BBC’s China editor in protest at the “secretive and illegal pay culture” at the corporation. Gracie discovered that the two male international editors were paid “at least 50% more than” her.
Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said:
“Carrie Gracie’s resignation is an indictment of the BBC’s claim to be a leader on equality and diversity. She was being paid 50% less for the same job as her male counterparts and the BBC should be ashamed.
“The BBC cynically manipulated its equal pay audit in an attempt to hide its discrimination against women such as Carrie. Carrie has shone a light on the BBC’s treatment of women and highlighted the urgent need for pay legislation that calls dishonest work practices to account.
“It conducted an audit that left out the highest paid earners in order to present this as a pay gap caused by women in junior roles, rather than what it is: outright discrimination between men and women doing the same work. It is attempting to mask pay discrimination with unequal recruitment and promotion practices while taking responsibility for neither.
“Equality legislation has consistently failed to stamp out discrimination. It must now be redesigned so businesses cannot hide discriminatory practices.
“The Women’s Equality Party would redesign this legislation so that firms reporting a pay gap above a certain level would be required to meet a higher level of transparency. Companies should be made to release details of their hiring, promotion and parental leave data and the salary bands of their male and female workers. They should break data down by metrics including race and disability and face fines if they release inaccurate or incomplete data – or refuse to make progress.
“Carrie Gracie has made a courageous stand and has the absolute support of the Women’s Equality Party, but she should never have been put in the position where she had to resign. We must also remember that for most women who experience pay discrimination, walking away from their jobs is not an option.”