herald

Thursday 20 September 2018

'BBC gender pay gap down to how much a woman's work is valued' - Aisling

Aisling O'Loughlin
Aisling O'Loughlin

TV presenter Aisling O'Loughlin has admitted she was not surprised to discover that only a third of the BBC's top earners are female while the top seven highest paid stars are all male.

The UK's national broadcaster came in for harsh criticism when it released its 'talent list' of performers who earn more than £150,000 annually.

Its highest-paid female presenter Claudia Wink- leman earns between £450-499,000 (€509,000) while top male earner Chris Evans is paid £2.2m (€2.5m) a year.

"It's disappointing, isn't it? We've come so far and we still have so much farther to go.

"People say 'You have equality, what are you whining about?' And then you hear statistics like that and you go, 'Well no, we don't'," she said.

Surprised

"I wasn't surprised. You just go, what's going on? How can this be? Especially in an institution as politically correct as the BBC. It's a very strong indication of what's going on."

Sports broadcaster Gary Lineker is the station's second-highest paid presenter, earning more than £1.75m (€1.97m) while chat show host Graham Norton takes home more than £850,000 (€961,000).

Former TV3 host Aisling believes the gender gap comes down to how much the work of male and female employees is valued.

"There is still a long way to go. Money equals value whether we like it or not. What value are you putting on a person's work? It's disappointing. We can't rest on our laurels," she told the Herald.

"You hear it coming back to women, 'You're not good at negotiating' and I think that is a cop out. I think it's something deeper than that.

"It comes down to value. It's reflective of a society that values male work over female work. I don't mean that against men, well done to them."

Fair

Aisling reckons things will only change once corporations have more women at the top.

"They say women have babies, yeah we do? What are you going to do about it? I think it will change eventually and I think it will be more female driven," she said.

"I think women are innately fair. When you get more women on top, it will be fair.

"It's up to the BBC bosses and not Claudia Winkleman."

It comes after RTE recorded a €16.9m rise in its annual deficit last year, blaming events including the 1916 Centenary and the Olympics for the increase.

RTE's Director General Dee Forbes has argued for an increase in the TV licence fee from €160 to €175.

Speaking in front of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Forbes said the licence fee accounts for over 50pc of the station's funding.

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