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Tuesday 26 September 2017

RTÉ gender pay gap ‘not surprising’

Award-winning producer calls for equality as only two of broadcaster’s top 10 earners are women

Miriam O'Callaghan. Photo: David Conachy
Miriam O'Callaghan. Photo: David Conachy
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

An award-winning film and TV producer has said the scarcity of women among RTÉ’S list of highest paid stars is “disappointing but unsurprising”.

Rachel Lysaght, who chairs the Irish branch of Women in Film and TV, was reacting to the publication by the national broadcaster earlier this week of the list of its top 10 highest-paid presenters. The list contained just two female broadcasters: ‘Prime Time’ host Miriam O’Callaghan made €280,445, while Marian Finucane took home a pay package of €295,000.

Meanwhile, ‘Late Late Show’ host Ryan Tubridy retained his place as the highest earner with an annual salary of €495,000.

Last night Ms Lysaght said the lack of female presenters among the top 10 earners was “disappointing but sadly unsurprising”.

“Irish women continue to be paid less than Irish men,” she told the Irish Independent.

“It’s a fact, it’s not changing, and it appears to be getting worse. This is a huge problem.”

Many of the senior executive and managerial positions in RTÉ are now held by women.

On top of this, entertainment programming such as the ‘Late Late Show’ usually have higher budgets than current affairs and news-based programmes.

It has been argued that the salaries of top earners in RTÉ are set by the mark, rather than simple prejudice.

However, Ms Lysaght believes the audiovisual industry needs to address issues of gender imbalance - from the disparity in wages to the lack of female stories on screen.

“As an industry we need to ask ourselves some serious questions,” she said.

“Why are we over-representing men’s stories and voices on-screen?

“Why do we value a man’s work more than the same work accomplished by a woman,” she asked.

She added that female presenters, screenwriters, directors and producers want “to see equal representation of women on Irish screens and equal representation in the projects written, directed and executed by women in the Irish audiovisual sector”.

“Above all, we want equal pay,” said Ms Lysaght.

Last year, the Irish Film Board announced it was introducing a six-step programme to address the issue of gender parity in film.

These steps have include carefully allocating funding and the introduction of various training and mentorship programmes. 

RTÉ declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent last night.

On the top 10 paylist, Tubridy was followed by Joe Duffy (€416,893), Finucane came third and O’Callaghan fifth after Sean O’Rourke.

Irish Independent

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