£361 , 0 0 0
Revealed: BBC payout to gender row journalist
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’