BBC editor Carrie Gracie has quit over the gender pay gap row and has accused the corporation of a ‘secretive and illegal pay culture’, it has been reported.
Ms Gracie, who has been with the BBC for 30 years and has described leading the BBC’s China coverage since 2004 as “the greatest privilege of my career”, has left her role after stating her concerns in a letter addressed to “Dear BBC Audience”.
She accused the corporation of a “secretive and illegal pay culture” after it was revealed two-thirds of its stars earning more than £150,000 were male.
The letter says: “My name is Carrie Gracie and I have been a BBC journalist for three decades. With great regret, I have left my post as China Editor to speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC.
“The BBC belongs to you, the licence fee payer. I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure.
“In thirty years at the BBC, I have never sought to make myself the story and never publicly criticised the organisation I love. I am not asking for more money.
“I believe I am very well paid already – especially as someone working for a publicly funded organisation. I simply want the BBC to abide by the law and value men and women equally.
“On pay, the BBC is not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability,” she continued.
“Salary disclosures the BBC was forced to make six months ago revealed not only unacceptably high pay for top presenters and managers but also an indefensible pay gap between men and women doing equal work.”
Her announcement has been met with widespread praise from fellow journalists on Twitter.
Ms Gracie, who is a China specialist and fluent in Mandarin, said she left her post as China editor last week.
The mum of two famously once revealed her salary live on air – £92,000 in 2009 – during the MPs expenses scandal.
She was previously married to a Chinese rock star and underwent treatment for cancer before returning to work in 2012.
In 2012 she says that quitting the China post means returning to her former position in the newsroom, ‘where she will expect equal pay’.
She called for the BBC’s international editors, both male and female, to receive equal pay but suggested that her managers had judged women’s work was worth much less than men’s.
In the letter she said: “I told my bosses the only acceptable resolution would be for all the international editors to be paid the same amount.
“The right amount would be for them to decide, and I made clear I wasn’t seeking a pay rise, just equal pay.
“Instead the BBC offered me a big pay rise which remained far short of equality.”
Last year the tax payer funded corporation was forced to reveal the pay gap between high profile male and female staff.
Of the 96 highest earning stars at the BBC, there were 62 male and 34 female, with the average man earning £295,000 and the average woman earning £210,000.
A BBC spokesman said: “Fairness in pay is vital. A significant number of organisations have now published their gender pay figures showing that we are performing considerably better than many and are well below the national average.
“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’.
“A separate report for on-air staff will be published in the not too distant future.”