BBC staff protest over pay on International Women’s Day

BBC staff in England have gathered outside Broadcasting House on International Women’s Day to call for equal pay.

Journalists including the corporation’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet and Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey stood holding sheets of paper displaying equal signs as they chanted “Equal pay for equal work”.

A huge cheer went up for Carrie Gracie, who resigned as BBC China editor earlier this year over pay inequalities, as she was brought to the front of the crowd.

She told the Press Association: “Yes it was great to see so many people, and it’s great to see so many men. Isn’t that cool?

“And it just makes the point that this is not like some people have presented it as a small group of entitled women.

“This is like, a lot of people at all levels of the BBC feel very strongly about equal pay.”

The women said they chose to stand at 4.22pm, 9% short of a standard 9-5pm working day, to symbolise a 9% gender pay gap at the BBC.

Asked how she felt as people chanted her name in support, Ms Gracie said: “It’s not about me, it’s about sisterhood.”

After being photographed alongside her colleagues – mainly female but some male – she added: “It’s about a movement and I hope the strength of feeling is clear to everybody.

“A picture is worth a thousand words. Everyone’s out here. That says it all.”

Asked if she thought it would make a difference, she said: “I hope so.”

Ms Doucet said it is time, in 2018, to “respect the laws and principles of the time in which we live”.

She added: “It’s not just the BBC. We happen to work for the BBC but this goes across the society and across the world. I think around the world women are saying, it’s 2018 and it’s time for change.”

On the timing of the demonstration she said: “Today all of us have left from our desks at approximately the time that our work stops being paid.”

A review commissioned by the BBC and published in January found there was  “no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making”.

The organisation has pledged to work to achieve 50:50 representation across the corporation by 2020.

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