Television presenter Steph McGovern says posh women are paid ‘a hell of a lot more’ than her as outrage over the gender pay gap at the BBC continues
Television presenter Steph McGovern says posh women are paid ‘a hell of a lot more’ than her as outrage over the gender pay gap at the BBC continues.
The anchor from Middlesbrough says the corporation has a class pay gap as well as a gender pay gap and slammed them for focussing too much on ‘ethnic diversity’.
McGovern, 35, who presents BBC Breakfast and Watchdog, said one manager told her she was ‘too common’ to be a BBC presenter.
She has received a ‘significant pay rise’ amid the gender pay gap row at the corporation.
After the renegotiation of contracts for employees, her salary is ‘just now’ at six figures – but she believes presenters’ salaries should be capped at £150,000.
‘Throughout my career I’ve had to argue about [pay],’ she told The Times.
‘It’s not as simple as a gender issue, it’s partly down to class.
‘There are a lot of women who do a similar job to me who are paid a hell of a lot more… who are a lot posher than me.’
She added: ‘We concentrate too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class.
‘It’s dead important to represent loads of different cultures.
‘But what the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds. It’s just posh.’
The anchor from Middlesbrough says the corporation has a class pay gap as well as a gender pay gap and slammed them for focussing too much on ‘ethnic diversity’
McGovern, 35, who presents BBC Breakfast and Watchdog, said one manager told her she was ‘too common’ to be a BBC presenter
McGovern thinks there should be more presenters with regional accents and says there are too many BBC managers who don’t know how to reach ordinary people.
‘A lot of people in management are from the same background,’ she said.
‘We’re talking about ‘How do we represent more working-class people?’ when they themselves are not working class. So how do they know?’
She thinks there should be more presenters with regional accents and says there are too many BBC managers who don’t know how to reach ordinary people
Who is BBC presenter Steph McGovern?
McGovern is an award-winning broadcaster who has worked in financial journalism for more than 13 years.
She has been part of the BBC Breakfast crew for the last five years and launched two new shows this year:
- Shop Well For Less on BBC One
- Pocket Money Pitch on CBBC
The Middlesbrough anchor first stepped into the BBC aged 19 when she made a guest appearance on a programme about women in science after winning the title Young Engineer for Britain.
Following her appearance, she secured work experience on Tomorrow’s World before becoming a part-time researcher while studying at University College London.
After graduating she became the main producer for daily financial news on the Today programme on Radio 4.
McGovern has also worked as a business presenter on the Chris Evans show on Radio 2 and on BBC 5 live.
She is also a mentor for young people in Teesside and regularly runs workshops for schoolchildren around the North East.
Outside the studio, she is a former champion Irish dancer and still often attends international competitions where she helps to coach dancers.
She received a ‘significant pay rise’ amid the gender pay gap row at the corporation
‘What the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds. It’s just posh,’ she said
She added: ‘There was an epiphany for me one day when there was a map of my home town on a wall in the Radio 4 office.
‘They said: ‘We’re doing a programme about antisocial behaviour orders.’
‘I said ‘What’s the red line on the map?’
‘That’s the no-go zone for the crew.’
‘I was like: ‘My mum and dad live in the middle of that.’
What is the biggest pay gap at the BBC? Corporation has a 20 PER CENT difference in some roles
The report by PwC, which examined the pay of more than 800 on-air staff, found the overall pay gap at the Corporation is 6.8 per cent.
In lower-profile roles – 656 of the 824 – the gender pay gap is 12.6 per cent.
The data revealed the biggest gap in median pay – 20 per cent – was in the second highest band of presenters, which includes those working in TV specialist news and radio rolling news.
The gap for the 17 highest earnings presenters, such as Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce, on the 6pm and 10pm main BBC1 news bulletins was lower at nine per cent.
The BBC said it had set a target for 2020 for 50 per cent of women on screen, on air and in lead roles across all genres from drama to news.
McGovern is known for her quick wit and self-deprecating jokes.
When viewers took to Twitter to congratulate her on what they thought was a pregnancy, she quipped: ‘I am not with child, I am with pot belly.’
Speaking to MailOnline, she added: ‘I’d definitely be in the wrong job if I got offended by comments like that. Even my own auntie asked me once if I was pregnant after seeing me on the telly – that’s just life on camera.
‘I just decided to tweet a reply about it today because I’d had a run of a few celebratory tweets and I wanted to clarify I wasn’t and get in there before my boss started arranging my maternity cover!’
Underpaid, undervalued and undermined… 14 cases of BBC pay inequality that left MPs horrified
Last night MPs published a string of examples of pay inequality at the BBC. They included:
TV news presenter:
Spent three years sitting next to a man who was paid tens of thousands more for the same job. Was offered an immediate pay rise just before the BBC published its ‘rich list’ last summer.
Eleanor Bradford, former health correspondent for BBC Scotland
Eleanor Bradford, former health correspondent for BBC Scotland:
Paid about £15,000 less than male health journalists – despite being told she was a ‘model correspondent’. Miss Bradford, pictured, complained and got a £5,000 increase, but left as it did not close the gap. She was happy to be named since she no longer works for the corporation.
National radio presenter with more than 20 years’ experience:
Invited on trial for a ‘flagship arts programme’. Two men with ‘no broadcasting experience’ were paid 25 per cent extra for the same trial. She got the job but her male co-host was on 50 per cent more. Her boss told her the ‘BBC doesn’t do equal pay’ and she was being ‘aggressive’ for raising the issue.
Earns half the rate her male counterpart does for equivalent programmes, with access to fewer resources. Offered 25 per cent pay rise when she complained, after months of wrangling.
Offered 65 per cent rise after the pay row erupted – bringing her in line with the lowest-paid presenter on her programme. BBC said it was ‘satisfied there was no issue of equal pay’ in her case.
News programme presenter:
Spent six months negotiating a salary of £53,600 for a three-day week. Then found she was on £45,000 less than her immediate male predecessor.
Receives £500 a shift to front a flagship sports radio programme – while her male co-presenter gets £1,200. Was offered £650 per shift after complaining. Says she is ‘at the top of [her] game’ with 30 years’ experience.
‘On air editor’:
The BBC rich-list revealed a male editor on the same programme was paid between 50 and 100 per cent more than she is. BBC said there was no equal pay issue, but offered an ‘on the spot 10 per cent increase’ which she rejected.
Is paid half the amount per shift that her male co-presenter receives, despite doing the same job for years.
Paid up to £10,000 less than her male counterparts. Requested equal pay last year but it is still under review.
Radio 4 reporter:
Paid £7,000 less than her male colleague for doing the same job. When she raised a formal grievance, she was offered a £4,500 rise with no back pay.
National radio presenter:
Gets just one third of the salary of her male co-host, despite doing the same job for the past six years. Was told in 2016 that there was no issue, but was given an increase in 2017.
Presenter on national radio:
Told in 2013 her local radio job was at risk and she could only stay on for half her previous salary – which was also half the rate paid to her male co-host. She could not afford to accept the deal so left. She then got a better-paid job at the BBC, but still earns less than half the amount of her male co-host.
Regional news presenter:
Paid a third less than her male co-host on a TV news programme – despite working the same hours, and regularly being chosen over her colleague for particularly demanding segments. Had equal pay request refused until last year, when she was got a 5 per cent rise.
McGovern went to a city technology college in a tough part of Middlesbrough and spends time visiting schools to inspire children from backgrounds like hers.
The presenter thinks employers should be keen to hire young talent and not worry about trifling things like tattoos – she herself has two.
‘It’s that Oscar Wilde quote: we’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,’ she said.
‘That’s what my geography teacher wrote in my school leavers’ book.’
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘More than 80 per cent of the BBC’s workforce was educated in state schools and the BBC is more diverse than it has ever been.
‘The BBC has a clear commitment to finding and developing new talent.
‘We offer hundreds of apprenticeships to ensure the BBC is open to people from all backgrounds and a range of programmes to help people develop their career once they’ve joined, but there’s always more to do and we have an ambitious diversity strategy which sets out our commitment to fully reflecting and representing the whole of the UK.’