BBC gender pay gap row: The 45 top women demanding equality in open letter to boss Tony Hall

Lynsey Barber
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BBC radio 4 Today programme presenter John Humphries earns more than double his highest earning female colleague (Source: BBC)

Some of the most famous faces and voices at the BBC have called on the broadcaster's top boss to address the gender pay gap revealed after salaries of the highest earnings were published last week.

In an open letter signed by the likes of presenters Clare Balding and Alex Jones and Newsnight hosts Emily Maitlis and Kirsty Wark along with more than 40 other women, director general Tony Hall was called upon "to act now" over the disparity.

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The pay figures revealed several well-known female figures working for the public broadcaster are earning less than male colleagues in similar positions.

Radio 4 Today programme presenter John Humphrys, for example, is the fourth most highly paid person at the organisation with a generous pay packet of between £600,000 and £649,000.

Fellow presenter Mishal Husain, who signed the letter, earns between £200,000 and £249,999 while another co-host and signatory, Sarah Montague, failed to appear at all on the list detailing those earning over £150,000.

The 45 women calling for equal pay at the BBC

Aasmah Mir

Katya Adler

Anita Anand

Wendy Austin

Samira Ahmed

Clare Balding

Emma Barnett

Zeinab Badawi

Sue Barker

Fiona Bruce

Rachel Burden

Annabel Croft

Martine Croxall

Victoria Derbyshire

Katie Derham

Lyse Doucet

Jane Garvey

Joanna Gosling

Fi Glover

Carrie Gracie

Orla Guerin

Karin Giannone

Mishal Husain

Lucy Hockings

Geeta Guru-Murthy

Alex Jones

Kirsty Lang

Gabby Logan

Martha Kearney

Carolyn Quinn

Kasia Madera

Katty Kay

Emily Maitlis

Louise Minchin

Sarah Montague

Jenni Murray

Annita McVeigh

Elaine Paige

Sally Nugent

Angela Rippon

Ritula Shah

Sarah Smith

Kate Silverton

Charlotte Smith

Kirsty Wark

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In the letter, organised by Radio 4 Women's Hour host Jane Garvey, the group said:

"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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