Paid 3,000 euros less per show than fellow man, presenter Samira Ahmed attacks the BBC

Denouncing discrimination, Ahmed estimates that the British public broadcaster owes her hundreds of thousands of euros.

Time to Reading 3 min.

Samira Ahmed in 2018.
Samira Ahmed in 2018. Andrew West / CC-BY-SA-4.0

For seven years, Samira Ahmed presents every Friday evening "Newswatch" on the BBC. In this program, viewers are invited to ask questions of journalists from the British public channel about their treatment of the news. By its format – fifteen minutes each week – and the fact that it gives the floor to listeners, the show is close enough to "Points of View", another program of the BBC. With the difference that Samira Ahmed is paid 440 pounds (510 euros) per issue, when his colleague "Points of View", Jeremy Vine, touched 3,000 pounds (3,470 euros) for the same work, from 2008 to 2018.

After unsuccessfully trying to get a pay equivalent to that of his fellow man, Mme Ahmed has decided to take the case to court to claim the hundreds of thousands of euros that she believes her employer owes her. The trial, which began Monday, October 28 in London, may tarnish a little more image of the BBC, already bleak when it comes to equality between women and men. Supported by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), the leading union of journalists, the famous presenter will try to prove that her position was equivalent to that of her male colleague and that she should have been paid as Jeremy Vine, and not 85% less.

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Their programs are similar in all respects, says the 51-year-old journalist. With one exception, stresses the New York Times its "Newswatch" show attracts between 1.5 and 2 million viewers each week, while Mr. Vine's is watched by 800,000 people. After having "learned" the disparity in wages between men and women within the company, the presenter had agreed in January 2018 to see his pay decrease to 1,300 pounds per issue.

If the BBC had already agreed to revalue M's salaryme Ahmed for programs she presented on Radio 3 and Radio 4 – recognizing that she had been paid between 33% and 50% less than her male colleagues on public radio – the public company refutes the arguments raised by Samira Ahmed regarding "Newswatch". In a pre-trial press release, the BBC denies gender pay discrimination.

For the employer, Mr. Vine's program is "An entertainment show with a long history and a name known to the public" while "Newswatch" – although it's an important program – is not. The BBC adds that the presenter received the same salary as her male predecessor when she took over "Newswatch". "News and entertainment are very different markets, and this is reflected in wages", still makes the chain.

A chain often criticized for its wage differences

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the BBC has been criticized for its differences in salaries between men and women. In January 2018, Carrie Gracie, China's editor-in-chief for the BBC, resigned to protest the "Secret and illegal wage culture" in British television. In March 2018, ex-tennis player Martina Navratilova had accused the pay discrimination chain. Consultant at the Wimbledon tournament, the legend of women's tennis denounced pay gaps "Shocking", his male colleague John McEnroe being paid at least ten times more than her.

According to Guardianthe lawsuit that began on Monday could be the beginning of a long series: a dozen other employees of the chain attacked the BBC for being paid less than their male colleagues. On Monday, several British media personalities came to support Samira Ahmed at the opening of the trial. "Women want equality, they want their work to be respected, launched Mme Gracie, came to support his ex-colleague. They do not want their work to be underestimated. It affects everything in their life, it's not just about money … it's also about self-respect and career development. "

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Since 2017, the British government has required all companies with more than 250 employees to publish pay gaps in their workforce. For many women, this had been an opportunity to prove the great disparities in wages between the two sexes. According to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released Tuesday, women employed full-time in the UK gained 8.9% less than men in 2019. A gap that has declined very slightly in recent years. years. For all employed persons, whether full-time or part-time, the wage gap between women and men reached 17.3% this year.


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