BBC former China editor Carrie Gracie speaks to the media in London after resigning her position in Beijing in protest over what she called a failure to sufficiently address a gap in compensation between men and women at the public broadcaster.
BBC former China editor Carrie Gracie speaks to the media in London after resigning her position in Beijing in protest over what she called a failure to sufficiently address a gap in compensation between men and women at the public broadcaster. Dominic Lipinski

Editor quits over BBC pay 'secrets'

ONE of the BBC's most senior journalists has resigned from her position, accusing the British broadcaster of a "secretive and illegal” pay culture that discriminates against women.

Carrie Gracie announced she had quit as China editor to speak out about the BBC "breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure”.

She said she would return to the TV newsroom.

A BBC journalist for more than 30 years, she said the broadcaster faced a "crisis of trust” and an "exodus of female talent” after it was revealed last year that two-thirds of its top-earning staff were men.

She said she was leaving her role in Beijing after learning she earned less than male international editors, despite stressing when she accepted the position "that I must be paid equally with my male peers”.

Her open letter was published on her website and addressed to the licence-payers who fund the BBC.

It called for urgent changes to the BBC's culture, which she said routinely led women to be paid less than their male colleagues.

"With great regret, I have left my post as China editor to speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC,” she wrote

"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.”

The BBC ordered a review into pay amid widespread criticism after it emerged only a third of its stars earning more than £150,000 salaries were women and the top seven earners were all men.

More than 40 of the corporation's most high-profile female names, including presenters Clare Balding and Victoria Derbyshire, signed a letter calling for immediate change.

The BBC review found the broadcaster's gender pay gap was just over 9 per cent - half the national average - and said there was "no systemic gender discrimination”.

But Ms Gracie said the corporation was "not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability” and that the BBC's audit "excluded the women with the biggest pay gaps”.

She added: "I told my bosses the only acceptable resolution would be for all the international editors to be paid the same amount. The right amount would be for them to decide, and I made clear I wasn't seeking a pay rise, just equal pay. Instead the BBC offered me a big pay rise which remained far short of equality.”

The journalist said she turned down the rise and was subject to a "dismayingly incompetent and undermining grievance process which still has no outcome” before deciding "enough is enough”.

Ms Gracie is returning to her former job in the BBC's TV newsroom, where she said she expects "to be paid equally”.

Her open letter added: "I am not asking for more money. I believe I am very well paid already - especially as someone working for a publicly funded organisation. I simply want the BBC to abide by the law and value men and women equally.

She said "up to 200” other female BBC employees had complained to the broadcaster about unequal pay since last year's salary disclosures.

- Chris Baynes, The Independent



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