How does the BBC still have a gender pay gap?

Gender parity has improved, but not quickly enough for some of its stars

A sign outside Broadcasting House in London
(Image credit: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The BBC is facing renewed accusations it has not done enough to tackle its gender pay gap, after it was revealed that just two of its 20 highest paid stars were women.

The BBC’s annual report into staff pay levels found the number of women paid more than £200,000 had increased from seven to 14 in the year to 31 March, while the number of men paid more than £500,000 had fallen from five to three.

Nevertheless, the top 12 earners on the BBC list are still men, with Gary Lineker topping the list.

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This is the second year that the BBC has published the salaries of its best-paid presenters. Last year’s list “sparked an outcry about gender and ethnic inequality because the top of the list was dominated by white men and because some men were shown to have been paid more than female co-hosts” says the BBC.

In response some “big-name name stars have agreed to significant pay cuts and the corporation looks to bridge the chasm in pay with female presenters”, reports The Guardian.

Director General Tony Hall has pledged to even out the gender split on the list to 50/50 by 2020, but said “these things take time”.

Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey, one of the eight women to join the list, told Radio 4’s PM programme the pace of change was “absolutely glacial”.

“There needs to be a proper conversation about why in 2018 we are still fighting the same old battle on equal pay and why the work of women just isn’t valued in the same way as the work of men,” she said.

There is also criticism that those who earned money from shows produced by BBC studios, which has become a commercial entity and is therefore exempt from the government requirement to publish pay details, were absent from the list.

The Daily Telegraph says the change allows the BBC to hide the salaries it pays to actors and presenters including the cast of EastEnders and Casualty, and those who work on Countryfile, Antiques Roadshow and Strictly Come Dancing.

Last week the corporation revealed that its overall median gender pay gap had been reduced from 9.3% to 7.6%, well below the national average.

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