The gender pay gap is only going to close if women fight for it and men actually believe it exists, which is why the female BBC hosts demanding equal pay from the network that employs them is such a big deal. Power in numbers, right? An open letter from the women, shared Sunday and written by well-known hosts such as Clare Balding and Victoria Derbyshire, among others, was sent to the BBC’s top manager and includes some pretty clear demands.
The network has a plan to close the gender wage gap by 2020, but the women say that that’s an unacceptable timeline. Especially since the Equal Pay Act became law in the U.K. in 1970.
There’s no excuse for the gender wage gap, they wrote:
It’s not hard to get things done in business, especially show business, when one wants to. So the fact that it’s been almost half a century since equal pay was made law is pretty embarrassing. Not just for the BBC, but for most companies everywhere.
The letter comes on the heels of a report made public last week that revealed that males at the network make substantially higher salaries. Two-thirds of the highest earners at the network were men, and the highest-paid women were making less than a quarter than the highest-paid male. That’s just not right. The salaries were also compared by job — so women doing the same things as men are just making less, plain and simple.
Balding and the women wrote in the letter, “We’re standing together to politely suggest they can do better.” They added that they were taking a stand now “so that future generations won’t have to.”
It’s not just gender inequality that the women and British viewers are upset about. The report also showed a startling lack of diversity over at the network — only 10 of the BBC’s stars are people of color.
The release of the BBC salaries has taken over British Twitter this week.
It looks like the BBC, and many companies worldwide, have a lot of work to do when it comes to treating people fairly, whether by representation or with their paychecks. Enough is enough already.