BBC China editor Carrie Gracie quits in gender pay row

Casey Dawson
January 9, 2018

A BBC spokesman said: "Fairness in pay is vital".

THE risks that Carrie Gracie took when she became the BBC's China editor should not be under-estimated - she was working 5,000 miles away from her teenage children in "a heavily censored one-party state" where she faced "surveillance, police harassment and official intimidation" as the fluent Mandarin speaker, with 30 years of journalistic experience, faced the most challenging job of her career.

In the open letter, Ms Gracie said "the BBC belongs to you, the licence fee payer".

Despite leaving her high profile position, which she has held since 2013, Gracie is staying with the BBC - to return to her former role in the BBC News Channel newsroom. There is real frustration that the BBC is not dealing with the core problem - people being paid differently for doing the same job.

"Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: "[The letter] makes it clear what a hard decision it has been to speak out about what she calls a crisis of trust at the BBC, but why it is vital that the British public are clear about why she has been forced to resign her post".

She said that the BBC was "not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability".

"This bunker mentality is likely to end in a disastrous legal defeat for the BBC and an exodus of female talent at every level", Gracie wrote.

Gracie said two male global editors at the BBC earned "at least 50% more" than their two female counterparts. It would be the BBC leading the outrage.

Speaking about her former role, Ms Gracie said: "I see the job of China editor as one of the most important and hard reporting jobs of our time".

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In his autobiography, he revealed that he felt responsible for the shuttle accidents of the Challenger (1986) and Columbia (2003). NASA later rebuked Young for the antics, which generated criticism from lawmakers and the media, but his career did not suffer.

Since then there has been increasing discontent at how the BBC has dealt with the backlash.

"Alongside that, we have already conducted an independent judge-led audit of pay for rank and file staff which showed 'no systemic discrimination against women, '" the statement said.

However, this review did not include the vast majority of on-air presenters, editors and senior managers.

Last year, a report published by the BBC found there was a 10.7% gender pay gap in favour of men when the mean average hourly pay rates were compared.

The outcome of Ms Gracie's case has not yet been decided. She is frustrated that she was offered a token pay rise rather than any guarantee of gender equality.

Gracie's move received voluble praise online from her colleagues, with veteran BBC journalist Lyse Doucet tweeting, "Brilliant Brave".

Gracie's suggestion that the BBC sets up an independent arbitration to settle individual cases is fascinating but also sensible.

Carrie Gracie has resigned as the broadcaster's China editor.

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