It’s 2017, and yet women are still fighting for equality. Data suggests it will take until 2152 to close the gender wage gap, but it shouldn’t take a century to get what we want. We want more, and Refinery29 is here to help — because 135 years is too long to wait for what we deserve today.
On Wednesday, the BBC released a list of its top earners. We learned that the corporation pays 96 stars an annual salary of £150,000 or more — but just 34 of them are women.
The highest paid woman at the BBC is Claudia Winkleman, the host of Strictly Come Dancing. She earned at least £450,000 in the last fiscal year, a supremely impressive salary, but only enough to make her the BBC's seventh highest paid star overall. The gender pay gap is especially pronounced at the very top of the BBC: of its top 20 earners, just five are women.
BBC presenter Mishal Husain, who makes considerably less than her Today program co-host John Humphrys, has already questioned the corporation's director general, Lord Hall, about the pay gap.
Now 45 of the BBC's top female stars - including Husain, Clare Balding, Victoria Derbshire, The One Show's Alex Jones, Geeta Guru-Murthy, and Fiona Bruce - have written an open letter to Lord Hall.
"You have said that you will "sort" the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now," they write in the letter. "We would be willing to meet you to discuss ways in which you can correct this disparity so that future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination."
The full letter appears below, followed by the list of 45 BBC female stars who signed it.
The pay details released in the Annual report showed what many of us have suspected for many years...that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work.
Compared to many women and men, we are very well compensated and fortunate. However, this is an age of equality and the BBC is an organisation that prides itself on its values.
You have said that you will "sort" the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.
Beyond the list, there are so many other areas including production, engineering and support services and global, regional and local media where a pay gap has languished for too long.
This is an opportunity for those of us with strong and loud voices to use them on behalf of all, and for an organisation that had to be pushed into transparency to do the right thing.
We would be willing to meet you to discuss ways in which you can correct this disparity so that future generations of women do not face this kind of discrimination.
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