Monday 23 September 2019

BBC stars don T-shirts to champion Equal Pay Day

Their comments come after salaries revealed by the BBC showed a stark gender pay gap.

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

BBC broadcasters have called for an end to wage disparity on Equal Pay Day.

Radio 4 Today presenters Mishal Husain and Sarah Montague, as well as broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire and Woman’s Hour host Jane Garvey, have championed fair pay.

Campaign group the Fawcett Society has dubbed Friday Equal Pay Day – the day in the year when women start to work for free because of the difference in the pay of men and women.

Holding up a piece of paper with an equals sign, Husain tweeted: “Closing the gender pay gap is about equality. It should matter to everyone #equalpayday.”

Montague‏ wore a T-shirt with the same symbol and wrote: “Happy Equal Pay Day! #bbcwomen.”

Their comments come after salaries revealed by the BBC showed a stark gender pay gap, with DJ Chris Evans the highest paid earner at £2.2 million.

Claudia Winkleman was the top earning woman but her pay packet was dwarfed by those of several men.

Those speaking out on Friday included BBC news correspondent Orla Guerin‏, who wrote: “When I started full-time work, in 1985, never occurred to me that I or any female colleague might be paid a penny less that a man for the same work. Have learned some lessons since then. #EqualPayDay.”

News anchor Kate Silverton‏ wrote: “Thank you to the men retweeting on Equal Pay. Hard to believe women still face Gender Gap half a century on from #equalpayact #equalpayforequalwork @fawcettsociety.”

Garvey‏ wrote: “It’s equal pay day for you and all BBC women wherever they are.”

And she joked: “New scientific research I’ve just invented says only well-endowed men can fully support closing the gender pay gap #equalpayday #bbcwomen.”

Front Row presenter Samira Ahmed‏ wrote: “When I started work Equal Pay Act had been law for 20 years. The young me would be horrified we’re still battling for it #EqualPayDay #bbcwomen.”

Derbyshire wrote: “It’s Equal Pay Day – bosses of small firms, large corporations, charities, start-ups, multinationals etc – do the right thing #BBCwomen #womeneverywhere.”

Fellow broadcaster Razia Iqbal‏ wrote: “‘All broadcasters are equal. Some are more equal than others’. It’s Equal Pay Day. If inequality exists for #BBCwomen you can be sure it does everywhere. Fight inequality.”

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Ore Oduba pledged his support, posting a snap of actress Jodie Whittaker, unveiled on Thursday, wearing a coloured, striped T-shirt in costume as the new Doctor.

“‪I’m no Whovian, but inspired by the Timelord today. #EqualPayDay #BBCWomen #drwho‬ #comeon,” he wrote.

And another male presenter, Greg James, also lent his support in a tweet posted by Jo Whiley.

Tweets by Radio 4 stars Husain and Montague come after the boss of Radio 4 defended the station  – saying its presenters “are paid fairly”.

Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams told the Press Association that pay at the station was “fair” and that the gender pay gap was a “BBC thing, with news and other issues”.

The Fawcett Society has warned that the gender pay gap is widening for some women and it will now take 100 years to close it.

Chief executive Sam Smethers said: “The pay gap is widest for older women as it grows over our working lives but we are now seeing a widening of the pay gap for younger women too, which suggests we are going backwards and that is extremely worrying.”

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