Carrie Gracie on BBC dispute: It’s a relief when you can stop shouting

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Carrie Gracie has said it is “always a relief when you can stop shouting” after reaching an agreement with the BBC over a dispute about back pay.

The former China editor will donate the funds to gender equality charity The Fawcett Society, to set up a fund for women who need legal advice on equal pay claims.

Earlier this year Gracie, who is still employed by the BBC, told MPs that the corporation treated women who spoke out about pay disparity as “the enemy”.

A statement from the corporation on Friday said: “The BBC acknowledges that Carrie was told she would be paid in line with the North America editor when she took the role of China editor, and she accepted the role on that understanding.

“The BBC is committed to the principle of equal pay and acting in accordance with our values.

“The BBC acknowledges the specific circumstances relating to Carrie’s appointment, apologises for underpaying Carrie, and has now put this right.

“Carrie is donating the full amount received to a charity of her choice.”

Speaking outside of the BBC’s New Broadcasting House after the news of the agreement was announced, Gracie said: “This is a huge day for me. I love the BBC – the BBC has been my work family for 30 years, and I wanted to be the best.

“Sometimes families feel the need to shout at each other, but it’s always a relief when you can stop shouting.”

She said she was grateful to director-general Lord Hall for leading “from the front”, adding: “In acknowledging the value of my work as China editor, the BBC has awarded me several years of backdated pay.

“But for me this has always been about the principle, and not about the money so I’m giving all of that money away to help women who need it more than I do.

“After all, today, at the BBC I can say I am equal, and I would like women in workplaces up and down this country to be able to say the same.”

The BBC praised the “important contribution” Gracie has made, adding in its statement: “During her tenure as China editor, Carrie delivered reports, analysis and work, that were as valuable as those of the other international editors in the same period.”

Gracie will now take up to six months of unpaid leave at her own request, using the time to write and speak on both China and gender equality.

Lord Hall said in a statement: “I am pleased that we’ve been able to move past our differences and work through things together; we can now look to the future.

“I’m also glad that Carrie will be contributing to Donalda MacKinnon’s project to make the BBC a great place for women to work.

“That really matters to me, and I want us to lead the way.”

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