11 JAN 2018

Gender Pay Equality, time for change

Kent Messenger Column- 11-01-18 

Throughout history the battle for gender equality has found momentum through brave, inspirational women and enlightened men who risk their reputations, careers and sometimes more. This week, Carrie Gracie joined that illustrious list.

Hugely talented, experienced and qualified, she is fluent in Chinese, extremely articulate and frequently risks her safety to uncover the goings on in the Chinese one-party state. It is surely beyond debate that she should be rewarded for her work in the same way as equally well qualified male counterparts.

Unfortunately, she is not, and this week Carrie took the brave decision to resign from her role as the BBC's China Editor after turning down a 45k pay rise on principal, because it still fell short of equivalence. This is simply about a fundamental fairness that women should be paid the same as men for carrying out the same role.

Both of the BBC's two female international editors are paid substantially less than their two male colleagues, but moreover it is alleged that some 200 women are also currently involved in pay disputes with the BBC. Despite their denial, this points towards an institutional unfairness endemic within the organisation.

Transparency is essential to achieving equality and I was encouraged last year when the BBC published their top talent salaries for the first time. It would seem that publication now needs to be cascaded down to those in less stellar positions, in order to expose the full extent of the issue and seek proper redress.

The BBC is not alone and doubtless that there are many gender imbalances within businesses in Maidstone & The Weald. Unintentional perhaps, but it is time to change and I urge business owners to check and question the fairness of their current payrolls.

I would be delighted to visit and publicise model local companies as examples of best practice for others to follow – please get in touch.

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