The Important Reason Six Presenters At The BBC Just Agreed To Take Pay Cuts

"It's just a no-brainer."

Six male presenters at the BBC have made a statement about the company's gender wage gap by agreeing to take pay cuts. The decision — by Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell, John Humphrys, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson, and Jeremy Vine — comes after Carrie Gracie resigned as BBC China editor over the issue earlier this month.

Last July, the BBC released the salaries of its highest-paid talent. The list of 96 individuals only included 34 women, and the top seven were all men. As Gracie pointed out in an open letter announcing her resignation, the BBC was forced to release this information. As NPR explains, previous reports had only included executive salaries, but new requirements from the British government required them to also reveal information about its top actors and presenters.

"For the first time, women saw hard evidence of what they'd long suspected, that they are not being valued equally," Gracie wrote in her letter, adding that without the public disclosure, "I and many other BBC women would never have learned the truth."

In October, it was reported that the BBC gender pay gap was 9.3 percent, compared to the U.K. average of 18 percent. BBC Director General Tony Hall said the company was "in a better place than many organisations," but pledged to close the gap by 2020.

Gracie wrote that the BBC had offered her a raise that was still "far short of equality," citing "differences between roles" but not elaborating. She announced that she would be returning to her former position in the London TV newsroom, "where I expect to be paid equally."

Of the six men taking pay cuts, the highest-paid is reportedly Jeremy Vine, who presents on Radio 2 and TV quiz show Eggheads, with a salary of £700,000-£749,999 for 2016-2017. The lowest paid was BBC North America editor Jon Sopel, who earned £200,000-£249,999. Gracie's salary, in comparison, was £135,000 a year. The new salaries have not been revealed.

"I think it needs to be sorted out and I support my female colleagues who have rightly said they should be paid the same when they're doing the same job," Vine told reporters of the pay cut. "It's just a no-brainer, so it wasn't a problem for me to accept one."

The BBC said in a statement that it was "grateful" to the men, adding, "These are great journalists and presenters, who have a real connection with the audience. We are proud to have them working at the BBC. The final details of some of these changes are still being discussed, and there are further conversations that the BBC will have with others in due course."

Meanwhile, Gracie will reportedly appear before a committee of Parliament members next week. According to the BBC, she, Hall, and two others were called to "discuss what action the corporation is taking to address the gender pay gap."

While social media users praised the male presenters for showing solidarity with their female colleagues, some argued that the women's salaries should have been increased instead. However, it's worth noting that Gracie stated she was "not asking for more money," as she believed she was well paid. "I simply want the BBC to abide by the law and value men and women equally," she wrote in her letter.

This news comes just days after Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to inhabit the title role in BBC series Doctor Who, shared that she made sure she was paid the same as her predecessor Peter Capaldi, telling Digital Spy, "It's an incredibly important time and the notion [of equal pay] should be supported."

Cover image: Lutsenko_Oleksandr / Shutterstock.com

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