Female BBC stars urge corporation to ‘act now’ on pay and gender

Some of the BBC’s most high-profile female personalities have written a frank open letter to the director general, Tony Hall, calling on him to “act now” and tackle the gender pay gap.

Household names including presenters Clare Balding, Victoria Derbyshire and Angela Rippon are among at least 40 women who have used their “strong and loud voices” to urge him to “correct this disparity” over gender pay, which they say has been known within the corporation “for years”.

It comes after documents setting out the pay for staff on more than £150,000 showed a sizeable gap in the earnings of the corporation’s most well-known male and female presenters and actors, with Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans topping the list on more than £2m, while the highest paid woman was Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman on £450,000-£499,999.

In the letter, the signatories said they will be “prepared to meet” Hall “so that future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination”.

It read: “The pay details released in the annual report showed what many of us have suspected for many years … that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work.

“Compared to many women and men, we are very well compensated and fortunate. However, this is an age of equality and the BBC is an organisation that prides itself on its values.

“You have said that you will ‘sort’ the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.”


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