Navratilova wades into row over gender pay gap at the BBC

Nine-time Wimbledon champion, Martina Navratilova, has accused the BBC of valuing male pundits more highly than females, after discovering that colleague John McEnroe is paid at least 10 times more than her.

Navratilova expressed her concerns on the BBC show Panorama: “It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000… I get about £15,000 for Wimbledon and unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon, he’s getting at least 10 times as much money.

“We were not told the truth, that’s for sure”, she continued, after the 61-year-old was assured by the BBC that men and women were being paid equally.

“It’s still the good old boys’ network … The bottom line is that male voices are valued more than women’s voices.”

Pay row reignited

The emergence of this information has led to a reignited the BBC gender pay gap row, last summer, when the corporation published a list of its top-earning, on-air stars, which revealed that just a third were women and the top seven were men.

The list further revealed the highest paid male at the BBC to be radio host Chris Evans, who earned more than £2m, while the top woman on the list was Claudia Winkleman, whose salary stood between the region of £450,000 and £500,000.

This led to more than 40 of its highest-profile female presenters, including Clare Balding, Fiona Bruce and Emily Maitlis, to publicly call for change through a letter to the director general, Tony Hall.

Since the reveal, BBC Sport have defended the discrepancy, saying McEnroe’s role was of “a different scale, scope and time commitment”, to Navratilova, adding: “They are simply not comparable.”

‘Highly valued’

Whilst the former world No.1 added that she is currently working “part time” for the corporation, her concerns remain for the other women at the BBC in more permanent roles where the problem may be even bigger.

A spokeswoman added: “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 UK broadcaster without our permission. His pay reflects all of this – gender isn’t a factor.”

Other broadcasters who have been vocal over the gender pay gap at the corporation, which has been hitting headlines for some time, are former China editor Carrie Gracie and ex-news presenter Maxine Mawhinney.