£361 , 0 0 0

Re­vealed: BBC pay­out to gen­der row jour­nal­ist

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Susie Coen TV and Ra­dio Re­porter

CAR­RIE Gra­cie re­vealed yes­ter­day that she was handed a £361,000 pay­out in her gen­der pay gap row with the BBC.

The pre­sen­ter set­tled her equal pay case in June fol­low­ing a long, bit­ter bat­tle with the Cor­po­ra­tion.

She did not dis­close the sum at the time but yes­ter­day told how the fig­ure was al­most three times her orig­i­nal salary of £135,000 as China ed­i­tor.

Miss Gra­cie do­nated the money to gen­der equal­ity char­ity The Fawcett So­ci­ety, which has used it to set up a free le­gal aid ser­vice for women to fight work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion.

The 56-year-old, who has spent more than 30 years at the Cor­po­ra­tion, also said she is on un­paid leave but is ‘go­ing to go back to the BBC and be a pre­sen­ter again’.

She added: ‘Some peo­ple said at the time “they’re go­ing to sack you”, they didn’t sack me so good on the BBC for that.’

Miss Gra­cie’s Scot­tish fa­ther was an oil ex­ec­u­tive and she was born while he was work­ing in Bahrain.

Ed­u­cated in Aberdeen and Glas­gow, Miss Gra­cie stud­ied at the Ed­in­burgh Uni­ver­sity be­fore run­ning a restau­rant for a year.

Her rev­e­la­tion comes af­ter MPs found the BBC had dis­crim­i­nated against and un­der­paid scores of women be­cause of an ‘in­vid­i­ous and opaque’ cul­ture at the top. In a Com­mons re­port last month, they said it had ‘failed’ fe­male work­ers and plunged the or­gan­i­sa­tion into a ‘cri­sis of trust’.

They added that women at the broad­caster live in ‘fear’ of chal­leng­ing their em­ployer de­spite know­ing they are paid tens of thou­sands less than men who sit be­side them.

Miss Gra­cie quit as China ed­i­tor in Jan­uary, writ­ing an open let­ter af­ter dis­cov­er­ing that North Amer­ica ed­i­tor Jon Sopel was on a salary band of £200,000 to £249,999 for an equal role.

Dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on ITV’s Good Morn­ing Bri­tain, she claimed that pay dis­crim­i­na­tion was ‘em­bed­ded’ in work­places in the UK.

‘We have to have more trans­parency,’ she said. ‘I only dis­cov­ered the pay gap be­tween me and my male peers by ac­ci­dent re­ally be­cause the BBC was forced to do some pay dis­clo­sures and it was like “Oh, what? How did that come?”.

‘When I went to China, I said I wanted to be paid equally and here I find the men are earn­ing be­tween 50 and 100 per cent more. I just as­sumed once I’d gone off say­ing “You’re go­ing to pay me equally, aren’t you?” that was go­ing to hap­pen.

‘We have so many British scru­ples about talk­ing about

‘It’s hap­pen­ing ev­ery­where’

our pay but ac­tu­ally, pos­si­bly it’s your salary, it’s your pen­sion, it’s your kids’ fu­ture, it’s ev­ery­one who comes af­ter you.’

She went on: ‘It’s also a mes­sage to men: if they can open the con­ver­sa­tion to women be­cause it is hard to go to your col­league, “Do you mind telling me what you’re earn­ing?”’

Em­ploy­ers of­ten try to ‘cover up’ pay bias by claim­ing there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween the roles car­ried out by men and women, said Miss Gra­cie.

The flu­ent Man­darin speaker has pre­vi­ously said the BBC told her she did not de­serve as much as male coun­ter­parts as she was ‘in de­vel­op­ment’.

Miss Gra­cie ad­mit­ted it is ‘re­ally un­pleas­ant’ to com­plain about un­equal pay be­cause ‘Ev­ery­one says “Oh, she was prob­a­bly worth less any­way”.

‘Be­cause it’s like peo­ple be­lieve their em­ployer and their em­ployer’s got all the power.

‘They’re big, they’re lawyered up, they know the game.’

The jour­nal­ist, now writ­ing a book on equal­ity, said the BBC is a ‘mir­ror’ for so­ci­ety.

‘It’s hap­pen­ing ev­ery­where and not just in the me­dia,’ she warned. ‘I had hun­dreds of let­ters and emails. Peo­ple stopped me in the street to say, “What do I do? I’m be­ing paid less.”’

Miss Gra­cie was speak­ing ahead of Equal Pay Day, which falls to­day, when women ef­fec­tively start work­ing for free un­til the end of the year be­cause of the gen­der pay gap.

Car­rie Gra­cie: ‘Cover up’

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