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BBC women demand action on gender pay gap now, not in future

FILE- In this file photo dated May 13, 2013, BBC TV journalist and presenter Victoria Derbyshire poses for photographers in London. Several prominent women at the BBC, including Derbyshire have written an open letter Sunday July 23, 2017, to BBC Director-General Tony Hall saying documents released last week confirmed that "women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work." and said they want the broadcaster's gender pay gap to be resolved now rather than in several years. (Yui Mok/PA File via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Prominent women at the BBC want the broadcaster's gender pay gap to be resolved immediately rather than in several years.

TV personalities including Clare Balding, Victoria Derbyshire, and others wrote an open letter Sunday to the BBC's top manager saying that plans to resolve the company's gender pay gap must be accelerated.

Documents made public last week showed that male BBC TV and radio personalities make substantially more than their female counterparts. The salary disparity came to light after the publicly funded BBC was forced to publish the salary range of its best-paid actors and presenters.

The list showed that two-thirds of the highest earners were men, with the highest-paid woman earning less than a quarter of the highest-earning male star. Many BBC men were found to be receiving far higher salaries than women in comparable jobs.

The open letter to BBC Director-General Tony Hall says the documents confirmed a long-held suspicion that "women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work." It urged Hall to fix the disparity "now" rather than in 2020, as has been suggested.

Balding, one of BBC's most accomplished TV journalists, said in a pointed tweet that a 2020 target for equal pay isn't good enough, since the Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1970 and the Equality Act in 2010.

"We're standing together to politely suggest they can do better," she said.

The women said they are taking action now so "future generations" of BBC women won't face discrimination.

Hall said, when the salary list was published, that the broadcaster needed to move more quickly on issues of gender and diversity. He has not yet responded to the letter calling for immediate remedies for female employees.

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