Karren Brady has said the BBC’s director-general can settle the gender pay gap at the corporation “quickly” once he makes the decision to do so.
Baroness Brady, 48, also said she was “100% certain” she earns the same as her male counterpart on The Apprentice, businessman Claude Littner.
She and Littner will return to TV screens in the next couple of weeks to join Lord Alan Sugar in finding the next winner of The Apprentice.
The BBC has been caught up in a gender pay gap storm following its revelation of top on-screen talent paid more than £150,000 a year.
The salary reveal was part of the corporation’s annual review and highlighted the fact that two-thirds of its stars earning more than £150,000 are male.
Baroness Brady told Radio Times Magazine: “The BBC is publicly funded so people want to know where their licence fee is spent and who gets what.
“Most shocking was the disparity between men and women effectively doing the same job. Emily… what’s her name? From Newsnight. Yes, Maitlis. She wasn’t on the list but her counterpart, Evan Davis, is on almost double.
“Gary Lineker earns £1.8 million, while his female equivalent, Clare Balding, is on £199,000. He is not overpaid, she is shockingly underpaid. A lot of the men should be forcing the BBC to pay more.
“The BBC keep talking about how they will redress the balance, but change can happen very quickly in an organisation if a CEO is determined to make that happen. Tony Hall (the BBC director-general) just needs to make the decision to resolve it, and then go and resolve it.”
She added: “On The Apprentice, I’m 100% certain I’m paid the same as (fellow adviser to Lord Sugar) Claude Littner. I insisted on equality when I negotiated my contract. I would not have allowed anything else.
“Not all women are good at negotiating pay, but I’m not a television personality. I’m a CEO, and more than capable of negotiating for myself.
“Most of my senior people here at West Ham are women. The footballers aside, more women than men here are on high salaries. Speaking as a woman who got her CBE for services particularly to women in business, nothing pleases me more than to see other women doing well.”
She is the chief executive of West Ham United football club.
She was also recently named as the chairman of Taveta, the parent company of Sir Philip Green’s retail empire.
Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times magazine.