Television presenter Steph McGovern says posh women are paid ‘a hell of a lot more’ than her as outrage over the gender pay gap at the BBC continues.
- Steph McGovern said one manager said she was ‘too common’ to be BBC anchor
- BBC Breakfast and Watchdog presenter given salary rise after the pay scandal
- McGovern, 35, thinks more should be done to represent working class people
- Presenter from Middlesbrough is known for quick wit and self-deprecating jokes
- She once quipped ‘I am with pot belly’ when viewers thought she was pregnant
The anchor from Middlesbrough says the corporation has a class pay gap as well as a gender pay gap and slammed them for focussing too much on ‘ethnic diversity’.
McGovern, 35, who presents BBC Breakfast and Watchdog, said one manager told her she was ‘too common’ to be a BBC presenter.
She has received a ‘significant pay rise’ amid the gender pay gap row at the corporation.
After the renegotiation of contracts for employees, her salary is ‘just now’ at six figures – but she believes presenters’ salaries should be capped at £150,000.
‘Throughout my career I’ve had to argue about [pay],’ she told The Times.
‘It’s not as simple as a gender issue, it’s partly down to class.
‘There are a lot of women who do a similar job to me who are paid a hell of a lot more… who are a lot posher than me.’
She added: ‘We concentrate too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class.
‘It’s dead important to represent loads of different cultures.
‘But what the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds. It’s just posh.’
McGovern thinks there should be more presenters with regional accents and says there are too many BBC managers who don’t know how to reach ordinary people.
‘A lot of people in management are from the same background,’ she said.
‘We’re talking about ‘How do we represent more working-class people?’ when they themselves are not working class. So how do they know?’
She added: ‘There was an epiphany for me one day when there was a map of my home town on a wall in the Radio 4 office.
‘They said: ‘We’re doing a programme about antisocial behaviour orders.’
‘I said ‘What’s the red line on the map?’
‘That’s the no-go zone for the crew.’
‘I was like: ‘My mum and dad live in the middle of that.’
McGovern is known for her quick wit and self-deprecating jokes.
When viewers took to Twitter to congratulate her on what they thought was a pregnancy, she quipped: ‘I am not with child, I am with pot belly.’
Speaking to us, she added: ‘I’d definitely be in the wrong job if I got offended by comments like that. Even my own auntie asked me once if I was pregnant after seeing me on the telly – that’s just life on camera.
‘I just decided to tweet a reply about it today because I’d had a run of a few celebratory tweets and I wanted to clarify I wasn’t and get in there before my boss started arranging my maternity cover!’
McGovern went to a city technology college in a tough part of Middlesbrough and spends time visiting schools to inspire children from backgrounds like hers.
The presenter thinks employers should be keen to hire young talent and not worry about trifling things like tattoos – she herself has two.
‘It’s that Oscar Wilde quote: we’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,’ she said.
‘That’s what my geography teacher wrote in my school leavers’ book.’