And awkward. But mostly wonderful.
Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
When the BBC released the full pay report of their entertainers who earn over £150,000 it was always going to be controversial. However, no one was prepared for the full extent of the backlash the broadcaster would receive for the annual report which was released on the basis of transparency.
Buckling under pressure from the government to release the figures in order to give the public an idea of where their licence fee money was going, the Beeb dished out the numbers – and, notably, women were once again left at the bottom of the pile.
We might be aware that the gender pay gap is still (rather depressingly) apparent across a broad spectrum of industries – just look at Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman earnings, or ask the women working in Trump’s administration.
But finding out just how much females are losing out on to their male counterparts has left a sour taste in their mouths. Just take a look at sports presenters Gary Lineker and Clare Balding – while Gary takes home a healthy £1.79 million pay packet, Clare’s salary is a comparatively lower £199,999.
And while many news outlets, radio shows and TV segments discussed the disparity at length, the BBC’s very own presenter, Mishal Husain, got the chance to interview her boss about the gender pay gap and she was brilliantly relentless.
The report shows that Husain earns around £400,000 less than her co-host, John Humphrys, so when she spoke to the BBC’s director general, Lord Tony Hall, on air during the Today radio show it was equal parts awkward and wonderful.
Husain questioned her boss about the gender pay gap, and Hall’s response was cagey.
‘When I came back to the BBC, I said I wanted to get a balance between men and women presenting programs like this program… This is something I believe very, very strongly in.’
Husain probed further when Hall claimed he would close the gap by 2020, asking how he proposed to do it.
His answer? ‘We have to manage, as we do, within our means.’
But Husain was not satisfied with his aloof answer, retorting: ‘Does that mean you’re going to be asking the men to take a pay cut?’
Hall had no answer, instead deciding to talk about hiring more women as if that was the same thing as paying them fairly. But Husain’s tenacity has won her a legion of fans on Twitter who have praised the host for making something so awkward so brilliant.
It can’t be easy confronting your boss about your salary while the whole of the UK is listening, but Husain managed to do it while putting him in his place at the same time.
Husain 1 – BBC 0.