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A Women’s Tennis Legend Responds To The Gender Wage Gap At BBC

Martina Navratilova spoke up during a BBC report on the very issue of gender pay inequality.

During a recent segment for a televised special report entitled “Britain’s Equal Pay Scandal,” tennis icon Martina Navratilova revealed that she found herself a victim of a gender wage gap at the hands of the very studio behind the report, the BBC.

In July of last year, the BBC, a public, state-funded television studio, was forced to disclose the salaries of those appearing on the network and demonstrated that Navratilova, in her work as a tennis studio host alongside John McEnroe, another tennis legend, earned roughly a tenth of what her male counterpart did for similar assignments. The reporting only presented the salaries in brackets rather than specific figures but showed that while McEnroe enjoyed payment in the £150,000 to £199,999 range, she would earn only £15,000 for a similar assignment.

In response to the shocking revelation, the women’s tennis icon was at a loss, stating, “Unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon, he’s getting at least 10 times as much money,”

The network has been mired in controversy for its inequitable pay practices recently, leading to not only this internal audit and investigation but also to the resignation of a 30-year veteran at the network, senior editor Carrie Grace.

Speaking to the Guardian, a BBC Sport spokesperson has attempted to explain the pay discrepancy, citing both McEnroe’s celebrity profile outside of the network’s coverage, as well as his prominence during Wimbledon.

Along with Sue Barker, John is regarded as the face of our Wimbledon coverage. He is a defining voice within the BBC’s coverage. He is widely considered to be the best expert/commentator in the sport, highly valued by our audiences and his contract means he cannot work for another U.K. broadcaster without our permission. His pay reflects all of this – gender isn’t a factor.

Navratilova insists that, in the scope of the Wimbledon broadcasts, she felt she had done a job commensurate with that of McEnroe. She spoke to the larger implications of her specific grievance, stating,“It’s shocking, if really, this happens to me then, you know, for me it’s a part-time job, it’s two weeks of my life.“

She continued, “But for the women that work there full-time, maybe the discrepancy’s not that large, but it adds up over a lifetime, it adds up to an amazing amount of money.”

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