29 JUNE 2018

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Former BBC China Editor, Carrie Gracie, has today chosen to donate her backdated pay from the BBC to leading gender equality campaigning charity, the Fawcett Society, to set up a fund for women who need legal advice on equal pay claims and to support Fawcett’s strategic legal work. The amount of backdated pay is not being released into the public domain at this time.

The Fawcett Society has a long history of campaigning on this issue dating back to before the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970. The charity has also 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 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.”

Camilla Palmer QC (Hons) from YESS Law commented:

“We support many women seeking equality in the workplace. We offer fees based on the employee’s income. This extraordinarily generous donation from Carrie means that we can support more women on lower incomes. Our aim at YESS is to try to resolve any disputes without litigation as so many women want to keep their job and maintain their employment relationships whilst also achieving parity. Carrie’s donation will assist us and Fawcett in achieving that.”

This initiative comes after the Fawcett Society’s Sex Discrimination Law Review, published in January this year, found that access to legal advice has been significantly reduced after the number of legal advice services across the country halved in ten years from over 3,226 in 2005 to 1,462 in 2015. The Review, chaired by retired High Court Justice, Dame Laura Cox DBE, made a number of recommendations to strengthen the law and improve pay transparency.

Notes to editors

Carrie Gracie is not available for interview but if you would like to speak to Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, or Camilla Palmer of YESS Employment Law please contact:

Fresh Communication: 0117 369 0025

[email protected] / 07769 66 66 27

[email protected] / 07876 378 733

About the Fawcett Society

The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. Our vision is a society in which women and girls, in all their diversity, are equal and truly free to fulfil their potential.

The Fawcett Society traces its origins back to 1866 and the first petition for the vote. Millicent Fawcett has recently been commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square. www.fawcettsociety.org.uk

About YESS Employment Law

YESS Employment Law is a charity which provides affordable employment law advice to employees and employers. Its charitable purpose is to resolve workplace disputes without recourse to the courts. They never litigate.

Carrie Gracie has issued a joint statement with the BBC which can be found on http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/ www.carriegracie.com

BBC Press Office: [email protected]