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December 08, 2006

Equal pay for newsreaders?

From today’s Independent:

Female correspondents working on the BBC’s flagship television news bulletins earn £6,500 less than their male counterparts on average, according to figures released under the corporation’s freedom of information scheme…according to an answer to the Freedom of Information Act question, the average female news correspondent working for the One, Six and Ten o’clock news broadcasts is paid £59,050 – compared to £65,625 for a male correspondent.

But… it doesn’t mention that the Beeb’s main news anchor (Huw Edwards) is a man. As well as the 10 O’Clock News, he also presents an hour of BBC News 24 every day. So his wages alone probably push up the average a fair bit. Fiona Bruce is his female equivalent. She typically presents the news three days a week, which with a young family could be through choice.

So does this mean unequal pay? Yes. But is this evidence of a ‘glass ceiling’ for female journalists? I’m not so sure.

There are big problems about equal pay in Britain. But any attempts to end them aren’t being helped when organisations jump on dodgy statistics and don’t reveal the whole picture behind them. Sometimes you can’t compare like with like, as much as they’d like to try.

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