Gender Pay Gap at the BBC

12/10: Men are being paid 9.3% more than women at the BBC and nearly 500 employees may be getting paid less than colleagues in a similar role simply because of their gender, according to a review of salaries which has revealed a serious Gender Pay Gap at the broadcaster.

The corporation’s pay list revealed that just a third of its highest paid on-air stars were women and the top seven were all men. The recent review claims there is “no systemic discrimination against women” at the BBC, effectively denying a Gender Pay Gap, but it did not include the vast majority of on-air presenters, editors and senior managers. British trade unions said the broadcaster needed to do better on equal pay.

The average Gender Pay Gap in the UK is between 18.1% and 19.7%, which the BBC is well below. The British government has said that all companies with more than 250 employees must publish their Gender Pay Gap by next April, but the BBC has revealed its figure early.

Tony Hall, the director-general of the BBC, welcomed the findings, saying: “Fairness in pay is vital. We have pledged to close the gender wage gap by 2020 and have targets for equality and diversity on our airwaves. We have done a lot already, but we have more to do around pay discrimination.”

What is Wage Discrimination?

Wage discrimination occurs when individuals with the same education and working experience perform similar jobs, yet are paid differently. The law in the vast majority of countries forbids wage discrimination on grounds of:

  • gender and sexual disposition
  • nationality
  • age
  • marital status
  • descent
  • country of origin
  • race
  • religion

Where men earn more, is it fair?

Women in many countries on average have hourly wages way below those of their male colleagues. These wage differences vary as widely as 10 - 40 percent, comparing and averaging the whole working population split by gender. Formally these differences are accounted for. But are these fair? No, not really. In practice women seem to be short of time to earn (much) more. They often have more jobs to do than just work for money, if one adds in domestic responsibilities. And they are sometimes sexually harassed by men, with career consequences including leaving a job due to the stress of this. There are many reasons for the different career choices that women make. Both men and women consider these differing choices quite normal however. Yet, the (long term) consequences of their choices hold women's income levels down.

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