Do the figures released today about the highest paid presenters reveal a sexism problem within the BBC?
YES – Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party.
The staggering inequalities between men and women, and between white and BAME staff, revealed in BBC salaries demonstrates why pay transparency is so vital. The highest paid male presenter earns four times the salary of the highest paid woman. But let’s face it, the BBC is far from being the only organisation – media or otherwise – to underpay and undervalue their women employees. A lot of other organisations will be taking jibes at the BBC while doing their best to conceal their own disparate salaries. This is not an isolated case, and to treat it as such would be to overlook the wider issue: 45 years after the Equal Pay Act, we still live in a society where anyone who is not a white male is under-compensated for their skills. There’s a huge amount of work to do – not just at the BBC. That’s why the Women’s Equality Party has policies to create an equal education system, quotas to ensure equal representation, and a costed plan for free childcare – to make sure more women make it to the top and are paid fairly for their work.
NO – Laura Perrins, co-editor of The Conservative Woman
The gender pay gap is a distraction from the real issue, namely that the salaries of the “talent” are unjustified when they come from public funds. Chris Evans is paid somewhere between £2.2-£2.25m, Gary Lineker between £1.75-£1.8m and Graham Norton £850,000-£900,000. The problem is not that they are all men. The problem is that these huge salaries are from public funds, raised by the licence fee, which is a regressive taxation. The fact that much of the BBC output is left-wing is another major issue being brushed under the carpet. We do not force people to buy the Guardian, any more than we force people to buy the Daily Mail. If “diversity” is so important to campaigners, they should worry that, in 2017, we are compelling people to fund the left-wing political and cultural content of the BBC. The quicker we abolish the fee, the better. There is no need to panic but there is need for reform – just not on the gender pay gap.