Fear that we might be seen as obstructive

An anonymous woman who works at the BBC on being the collective BBC Women:

The plural, BBC Women, is the collective name we have given ourselves in choosing to highlight a very simple principle: equal pay for equal work. It is a matter of the law, the Equality Act of 2010.

And the group of BBC women I am a part of now numbers more than 200, including some of the most high-profile at the corporation. We are women who support our colleague Carrie Gracie in her public and eloquent pursuit of that principle of parity. Women who may have specific pay grievances or none, but, above all, have become involved in this issue because it is the right thing to do. And because we all want things to improve for future generations in the industry.

The BBC is a wonderful institution, but women there are afraid right now.

That I write this anonymously is a sign of both fear and anger among many BBC women, who, even after joining the group, stay silent. Fear that we might be seen as obstructive for speaking out, and anger because the reason for our speaking out is neither obstructive nor designed to make trouble. We just want to see an existing law enforced.

But the BBC cannot trumpet its editorial independence in telling truth to power, only to expect its highly educated and talented employees to stay silent when they are lied to. And we have been lied to. Both in individual cases and collectively. You could argue that it is a form of gaslighting: continuing to tell women that there is no inequality and, over a period of time, they think they are imagining it.

And then there’s John Humphrys.

That the BBC management is said to be “deeply unimpressed” is good. But the private conversation isn’t just a sideshow, it is a symptom of a cultural malaise. It represents hardwired hostility and contempt towards women who demand what is right and legal. This can’t be shrugged off as “jocular exchange” or “banter” between old mates.

Hahahaha she wants to be paid as much as the blokes, silly bitch, can you believe it?

H/t Maureen

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