BBC settles equal pay dispute with Carrie Gracie

Carrie Gracie (centre), flanked by journalists Martine Croxall (left) and Razia Iqbal outside New Broadcasting House in 2018
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Carrie Gracie, the BBC’s former China editor, has received a payout from the broadcaster after it emerged she had been paid less than her male colleagues.

The BBC has apologised to Gracie, acknowledging that she had been underpaid. She stepped down from the role in January.

In a joint statement between Gracie and Tony Hall, the BBC’s director-general, the parties said the BBC acknowledged she was told she would be paid in line with the North America editor when she accepted the China editor role.

It said the BBC was “committed to the principle of equal pay” and noted that Gracie “delivered reports, analysis and work, that were as valuable as those of the other international editors”.

Gracie said: “I am glad to have been able to resolve this with the director-general – it shows that we can make progress.

“I’m also pleased that my work as China editor has now been properly recognised by the BBC and relieved that this difficult period is over. For me, this was always about the principle, rather than the money.”

The backpay she has received will be donated to gender equality campaign the Fawcett Society. No more details about the compensation received have been published.

Hall said: “I am pleased that we’ve been able to move past our differences and work through things together; we can now look to the future.

“I’m also glad that Carrie will be contributing to Donalda MacKinnon’s project to make the BBC a great place for women to work. That really matters to me and I want us to lead the way.”

A project led by BBC Scotland director Donalda MacKinnon aims to break down the barriers women face in progressing in their careers at the BBC. It is part of the broadcaster’s drive to have women in half of senior management and on-air roles by 2020.

In March, hundreds of BBC employees demanded full pay transparency, following a review of on-air pay by PwC and the publication of an open letter by Gracie, in which she accused the BBC of having a “secretive and illegal” pay culture.

It published a median gender pay gap of 9.3% ahead of the deadline in April – slightly below the median pay gap of 9.8% reported by organisations in 2017-18.

Gracie is to now take up to six months’ unpaid leave to “write and speak on both China and gender equality”.

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