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chris evans and claudia winkleman

Why the BBC pay gap should matter to you


posted: 20 July, 2017, 12:47

in: You and Your Family, Family, News, Mum Stories

There’s nothing as juicy as finding out someone’s else’s salary. Those moments when I’ve found out what the person sits next to me earns is an eye opener. So yesterday’s announcement by the BBC revealing how much their employees earn (if more than £150K) was a delicious insight.

It didn’t matter they were mostly celebrities sitting in their ivory towers and far removed from my world – I loved finding out – and sadly wasn’t that shocked to know it was the men earning significantly more than the women.

Thinking of returning to work – read this

The highest earning woman is Claudia-trim-your-fringe-Winkleman, and their highest earning man being alpha male Chris-I-own-a-zillion-sports-cars-Evans. Claudia earns £450K – £500K – just a fifth of Chris Evans with a £2.2K+ salary.

As the news unfolded and the celebs were left squirming when asked to justify these huge amounts (re-listen to Jeremy Vine being challenged by an ex-miner if you get a chance – fantastic) it’s hard not to have an opinion on the matter.

You’re either a woman or a man, and I’m taking a punt on you having been in the work place at some point in your life. Also you’re probably a parent if you’re reading this, so have a son or a daughter.

Therefore this story matters to YOU.

It’s not just passing celebrity gossip that’s so far beyond your life, because what exists at the BBC – clear sexism within pay structures – is probably what is happening in the company you work for, or did work for before you went on maternity leave. Actually this probably affects you even more now you’ll have to negotiate flexible working, part time hours, full time hours or pay and a future where having had a child will now be a reason to be judged at work. (Did you read Sarah Cawood’s post yesterday?)

Your son or daughter will be in that work place a few years down the line too. The thought my daughter may be paid less than a male colleague makes my blood boil, and equally I don’t want to raise my son to believe this is OK either.

We should all feel a bit angry about the story, but also pleased it’s brought the debate back to the fore where in the main people are disgusted there’s still such a gap… and ‘gap’ is something of a euphemism here, right?!

I don’t think we can blame those earning so much – in the same position you’re hardly going to turn it down – it’s the employers who have agreed those rates. But perhaps, as women and mums, we all need to be a touch braver about our worth in the workplace, a bit more confident about how much we are or should be valued, and not feel almost grateful for being offered flexible working arrangements or being kept on by a company ‘even though we have children’.

Like many part timers out there, my employer gets more out of me than if I were full time. They actually get work for free, because I check emails, reply to messages and write blogs outside of my three working days. I work really hard and although I’m not here every day, I work extra hard to do a good job against my full time colleagues. I’m worth every penny of what I’m paid – probably more (boss take note).

We all are and we all deserve the same as the next male employee. Fight for your rights sisters – and for our daughters too.

*Goes off to burn bra*

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One toddler boy, one preschooler girl and one husband. Former free-thinking individual taken over by motherhood. Likes: mini breaks, Eastenders...

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  • Sal89

    I agree that overall the pay gap is shocking though I don’t think Claudia Winkleman and Chris Evans are the best examples of why. Chris Evans works five days a week (almost) every week starting work at a time when most of us are still in bed. Claudia does strictly yes, but her radio show is just for two hours on a Sunday. I don’t reckon their hourly rate would be that different.

  • Olivia

    Most working mums are just grateful to find smething that works around school run times, and unfortunately such options are often badly paid

  • Yvette Lamb

    Well said Lucy! I also hate that flexible working is somehow considered a dirty word, and so many employers seem to have no interest in making it plausible for families – and yes, mums especially – to combine a career with being a parent.

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