Monday 20 January 2020

'People have a point to make and now is the time to make it' - Anne Doyle on RTE's gender pay gap

Anne Doyle. Picture: Mark Condren
Anne Doyle. Picture: Mark Condren
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Former news anchor Anne Doyle has praised female presenters at RTE for speaking out about the broadcaster's gender pay gap.

Her comments came after it emerged newsreader Sharon Ni Bheolain earns up to €80,000 less than her co-anchor, Bryan Dobson.

Doyle joined RTE as a newsreader in 1978 and worked with the national broadcaster for 33 years.

She said anyone who feels they are being "short-changed" should air their grievances.

"Like any right-minded person, I believe in equal pay for equal work," she said.

"I think if anyone is being short-changed then they are quite right to make their views very plain. I think 'fair play'.

"People have a point to make and now is the time to make it."

Speaking about her own broadcasting career, Doyle said she didn't believe she was paid less than her male contemporaries.

"My dim memory of my career is that I had a pretty damn good idea what people were being paid. I personally didn't ever feel short-changed," she said.

"To the best of my knowledge, I never had the experience of sitting beside a person who was doing the same job and getting paid more.

"Had that been the case I would have been very cross indeed."

She acknowledged her male co-workers may have been earning more than her but believes this would have been because "they would have been in a somewhat different role". Doyle also stressed that she never had "any personal grievance" when she was at RTE.

"I was well-paid for the job I did, and I did it to the best of my ability," she added.

Last week, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Siptu members working at RTE held a meeting to discuss gender and equality issues in the organisation.

Members called on RTE to publish a gender breakdown of pay grades and remuneration data across the corporation within the next fortnight.

Several female presenters, including Martina Fitzgerald, and Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, have spoken about the need for the disparity to be addressed.

"Fair is a simple four-letter word that we have forgotten to use. Fair is not charity or a kind gesture, or a token - it's a human right to expect all genders to be treated equally," Ni Chofaigh said.

"We can blame a lot on patriarchy, but if one is to acknowledge one's unconscious gender bias, act upon it."


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