Six months after acclaimed journalist Carrie Gracie quit her role as the BBC’s China editor over the dramatic pay gap between herself and male colleagues, the network has apologized to Gracie and promised to repay her lost earnings. In a joint statement issued on Friday, the BBC apologized to Gracie, acknowledging that they underpaid her and promising to issue her back pay to recoup her losses. Gracie, for her part, said that she would donate the backdated pay to the Fawcett Society, a women’s rights charity, to help them start a fund that would be used to provide legal support to women making equal-pay claims.
“Today, at the BBC, I can say I am equal,” said Gracie. “I would like women at workplaces up and down the country to say the same,” she added.
According to The New York Times, the saga began in 2013, when Gracie accepted her position as China editor and was promised pay commensurate with BBC’s North America editor, Jon Sopel. But after the broadcaster was forced to publish data detailing its gender pay gap last summer, Gracie discovered that Sopel was actually being paid between $260,000 and $330,000 a year — while she herself was only being paid $178,000 a year. Her subsequent resignation led to an outcry across the world of journalism and renewed discussion about the gender pay gap at large, as the BBC faced scrutiny over shocking pay discrepancies between men and women performing equivalent roles across the network.
On Twitter, many of Gracie’s fellow journalists congratulated her on the victory — and thanked her for fighting on behalf of working women everywhere.
I admire Carrie Gracie so much for her principled stand and applaud the dignity with which she has handled this situation. To donate all of the agreed backpay confirms what we already knew – she is not fighting the fight for herself but for ALL #equalpay https://t.co/Pzu2ips8jn
— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) June 29, 2018
In April, Gracie appeared at the Women in the World Summit in New York, where she spoke about her then-ongoing dispute with the BBC. “They told me I’m brilliant,” recalled Gracie on the WITW stage. “But they won’t pay me like a man.”
Watch video of Gracie’s remarks at the WITW Summit below.
Read the full story at The New York Times.