BBC pays women less than men

The latest disclosure will support claims of the existence of a glass ceiling for women journalists at the BBC.

india Updated: Dec 08, 2006 16:52 IST

Women reporters working on BBC's flagship television news programmes earn 6,500 pounds less than their male colleagues, according to figures released under the corporation's freedom of information scheme.

According to the figures, the average woman news correspondent working for the one, six and ten o'clock news broadcasts is paid 59,050 pounds—compared to 65,625 pounds for a male correspondent.

The latest disclosure will support claims of the existence of a glass ceiling for women journalists at the BBC and will raise questions about the fairness of the corporation's overall pay structure, according to the online edition of the Independent newspaper.

"Whilst the NUJ and other media trade unions have made significant inroads in eroding the glass ceiling... more measures are needed to eradicate pay inequality," said David Ayrton, research and information officer at the National Union of Journalists.

"To help put the information in context, it is worth noting that the relative experience of specialist correspondents is likely to be reflected in their salaries. Therefore, we have also included the average ages of and lengths of service for the sample group, as they may be an indicator of relative levels of experience," a BBC spokesperson said.

The average age of a female correspondent is 41, while it is 46 for males.

"The pay gap, sadly, isn't closing fast enough. We welcome the action plan following the Women and Work Commission. But we also need new legal thinking if we're to tackle this stubborn inequality and speed up the pace of change," said Jenny Watson, the chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

"In the generation since the sex discrimination acts and the equal pay acts came into force, women have made great strides. But the remaining pay gap suggests that our three-decades-old laws—which rely heavily on women bringing costly individual legal cases to challenge inequality—have reached the limits of their usefulness.

"We need a new generation of laws placing a more active responsibility on employers to deliver equality for tomorrow's generation—before they too miss out on much-needed income," she added.

First Published: Dec 08, 2006 16:40 IST