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Former BBC China Editor donates back pay to Fawcett Society

Former BBC China Editor donates back pay to Fawcett Society

Former BBC China Editor, Carrie Gracie, is donating her backdated pay from the BBC to gender equality campaigning charity, the Fawcett Society, she announced on Friday 29 June.

The money will be used to set up a fund for women who need legal advice on equal pay claims and to support the Fawcett Society’s strategic legal work.

The Fawcett Society has been at the forefront of calling for employers to report their gender pay gaps and highlighting that, in some organisations, gender pay reporting will uncover pay inequality which is illegal. The amount of backdated pay is not being released into the public domain at this time. 

The money will fund:

  • Access to a legal support service provided by YESS Employment Law to help women negotiate equal pay. YESS Law specialise in employment law advice to assist employees and employers to settle legal disputes and if possible maintain the employment relationship. This new service will be initially for women earning below £30K per year without access to advice
  • Strategic legal cases and interventions aimed at strengthening the law
  • Establishing a Fawcett strategic legal interventions panel of experts to support this work


The service is not yet in operation but is due to launch later this year.
Carrie Gracie said:

“When my case became news, women wrote to me from all over the country to recount horror stories about unequal pay and the difficulties they faced in trying to put it right. My own experience has taught me how lonely and challenging this can be. I am relieved my own battle is over. Now I want my back pay to help other women win equality at work, especially women who lack the personal funds, union support or public profile to get access to legal assistance. I’m delighted to work with Fawcett and YESS on this.”

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, said:

“Our Equal Pay legislation may be nearly 50 years old but the fight for equal pay is very much with us today. Women need real pay transparency at work and they need legal advice and support when they believe they have been discriminated against. Our first priority with this money is to help low paid women and those who do not have access to advice.

“I want to pay tribute to Carrie who is a fearless and principled champion for equal pay. Her generous donation means we can get the fund underway. We will also be seeking further contributions in the months ahead. We want to use the fund to both support individual women and to enable us to find strategic sex discrimination cases and make key legal interventions.”

YouTube video: Former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie giving evidence to committee of MPs on pay inequality in January 2018.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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