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nothing complicated or difficult about paying your female journalists less than their male peers – although of course having that laid bare and open to public scrutiny is clearly squirm-inducing for those running the BBC,” she says scathingly. “Tackling it takes resolve and honesty, alongside


real change in the way pay is addressed. The vast majority of those working for the BBC are there because they are passionate about public service broadcasting and it’s that ethos that should lead its approach to pay and remuneration, not the external market that the BBC likes to bang on about when it tries to justify the unjustifiable.” At Leigh Day solicitors, which is representing


Asda workers, equal pay specialist lawyer Linda Wong says there is ‘enormous power’ in large numbers of women uniting for their legal rights. “Sometimes people think ‘I’m going to weigh the pros and cons’ because of the potential backlash and the risk of losing their livelihood. And, because the change doesn’t come quickly enough, they can start to think it’s pointless,” says Wong. “But I think Carrie’s coming forward will prompt more women to find the strength and courage to do the same.” The dawning understanding that you have been undervalued for decades can be exceedingly painful, and was powerfully described by Gracie in her evidence to MPs. It’s an emotion Wong has come across all too often. “That realisation sometimes is not very


empowering, because for many people, they really need this job,” the solicitor says. “But when you have someone like Carrie speaking out, it gives it that little bit more of a push, for people to think, no, I’m not being unreasonable. People sometimes don’t acknowledge how wrong it is.” Stanistreet finds the same: “One of the benefits of the work at the BBC is that it’s sparked conversations at lots of other workplaces. The NUJ has been involved in other individual cases, and a number of chapels are working hard to assess what equal pay issues might exist.” Meanwhile, she says, the BBC is not the only


culprit. “The media industry and the broader creative industries have a bad record on equal pay. It’s high time the sector is dragged into the 21st century: we need to work collectively to put an end to unlawful and discriminatory pay cultures.”


the Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act. • Also in 2010, around 5,000 Birmingham City Council cleaners, cooks, care assistants and caretakers win their equal pay claim against their employer


2015 Four female Sainsbury’s workers begin a class action claim for equal pay: over the next three years, the numbers involved rise to nearly 1,000 employees.


2017 Around 6,000 Glasgow city council workers win a class action for equal pay against their employer. • Also in summer 2017, the BBC publishes data on its gender pay gap among employees earning over


£150,000. This demonstrates that two thirds of the corporation’s highest earners are men. A gender pay gap analysis shows male BBC employees earn on average 9.3% more than women.


2018 In April, all organisations employing more than 250 people will by law have to publish their gender pay gap.


theJournalist | 13


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