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Kirsty Wark: BBC gender pay gap was ‘absolutely outrageous’

The BBC sparked controversy when the salaries of top talent earning over £150,000 were revealed.


Kirsty Wark (Matt Crossick/PA)

Kirsty Wark (Matt Crossick/PA)

Kirsty Wark (Matt Crossick/PA)

Newsnight host Kirsty Wark has criticised what she called an “absolutely outrageous” gender pay gap at the BBC.

The broadcaster sparked controversy when the salaries of top talent earning over £150,000 was revealed.

Wark, 63, told Good Housekeeping magazine: “People were genuinely shocked. There were pay gaps between men and women on different programmes that were outrageous.

“The Today programme was one of them.

“The idea that women should be paid less for doing an equal job is absolutely outrageous and what happened was that either knowingly or unknowingly, the BBC let that grow… and so it is being redressed now and it will have to be redressed.”

Wark, who was revealed to be earning between £150,000 and £199,999, said: “We are a public service organisation. It will be changed and the culture will be changed as well. The BBC has to be the standard bearer of equality.”


Today host John Humphrys (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Today host John Humphrys (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Today host John Humphrys (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

When the figures were unveiled, Radio 2’s Chris Evans topped the 2017 list on more than £2 million, while the highest-paid woman was Claudia Winkleman on between £450,000 and £499,999.

Big name stars such as John Humphrys, Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Vine have now reduced their salaries at the BBC.

On her future plans, Wark said that she would like to follow in veteran Question Time host David Dimbleby’s footsteps.

“I think there will be many people when David Dimbleby decides he doesn’t want to do it any longer,” she told the magazine.

“I think I will be one of them, but I’m sure lots of people will throw their hats in the ring for that.”

Wark also spoke about her experience of the menopause, saying that too many women do not get the help that they need from GPs.

“It can be easy, it can be hard, it can be hellish,” she said.

“I had an abrupt one but what I found so distressing was how many women are fobbed off by their GPs with anti-depressants or ‘you’ll get through it,’ when there is all manner of help.

“Also, women weren’t talking to each other about it or to their mothers or daughters.”