It seems the British Broadcasting Corporation are sexists. The BBC has, up until now, always presented itself as a leading organisation for diversity in this country. Where other organisations have blatantly favoured white men of a certain age to present their top shows, the BBC have, in recent years at least, been careful to ensure that there is diversity on every panel, in every studio and behind every scene. To many the BBC and their quest for diversity has been laughed at in the past for trying so hard, obviously favouring black presenters, women, and those with disabilities. By many though, myself included, they have been applauded for their valiant efforts to diversify television in this country.
But now it has emerged that all is not as it seems. Because whilst they might be fighting tirelessly for equality on the outside, inside their walls it seems they couldn’t give a shit. Inside their walls, as it transpires, they are blatant sexists, clearly neglecting the fight for equal pay when it comes to saving a buck or two with their female stars.
Recent findings suggest, no, show that the BBC, like the rest of the country, have been seriously underpaying the women in their employment for doing exactly the same job as the men, Take Claudia Winkleman for example, the BBC’s highest paid female star who is making a mere fifth of what Chris Evans receives. Sure, her salary of £450,000 is barely believable to the rest of us, the fact that she is paid less than a quarter of the highest paid male star is laughable at best.
Today 42 of the BBC’s top female broadcasters, along with a huge demand from the public, have stood up against the BBC. In an open letter to director general Tony Hall, they have urged him to end the discrimination. Signatures included are those of Sarah Montague, Emily Maitlis, Jane Garvey, Clare Balding, Sue Barker, Annabel Croft and Gabby Logan, to name but a few. In their letter they make clear that “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 it’s values.”
And they’re right, on both counts. These people, these stars, are paid a lot of money. And to a lot of people, to Joe Public, it is felt that these stars are being paid ‘too much’ by the tax payer, but that’s not the important bit here. No, the important thing here is that this organisation is one that prides itself on it’s ‘values’ and one that has been deliberately ignoring and actually worsening a problem of such magnitude in the fight for equality.
Tony Hall has said that he would ‘sort’ the pay gap by 2020. That was his solution, and this letter, and the rest of the world, is calling for this problem to be ‘sorted’ now. This is not a dent in the boot of a car that is still drivable, it’s not a subtle stain on the carpet that can be hidden by the sofa, this is equality and is not something that can be ‘sorted’ when the man in charge has a spare minute. This is a problem that doesn’t just need to be ‘sorted’, it’s one that needs to be TACKLED, head on, right now.
This letter was written by a group of women ‘with strong and loud voices… on behalf of all and for an organisation that had to be pushed into transparency to do the right thing.’ Smart women. Educated women. Hardworking women who are being undervalued, simply on account of their gender.
This is not funny, this is not a joke and this is not just ‘one of those things’. We are in a world now that should not even have to consider these issues, least of all from the biggest broadcaster in the country who pride themselves on their fucking values. What. Fucking. Values? It is not a remotely acceptable notion that two people are being paid such differing amounts totally and utterly because of the body that they were born into.
This is not a group of women asking for more money for the sake of more money, they’re not being greedy. The amount that they are asking for is irrelevant. What they are asking for is what is owed to them. It is what it is right and fair. It is what is needed. Dock the pay of the blokes to make up what is owed to the women. Dig deeper. It doesn’t matter how this problem is fixed, as long as something is done.
The BBC is not only an organisation that sits on a pedestal made up of it’s ‘values’, it is also one that is totally funded by the people in this country, both the men and the women. As a part of our monthly outgoings, the people of this great nation are accidentally supporting an industry that is not only not fighting for equality, but one that is actively working against it. We don’t have a choice in this, our biggest crime here has been wanting to watch the Great British Bake Off and since that has gone, why we feel the need to stick around is beyond me. I for one won’t support a corporation that won’t support me. Because that is what is happening here; this is the BBC not supporting women. Which, if I didn’t know it to be a cold hard fact, I would consider to be a laughable and ridiculous notion. Alas, sexism is alive and well.