Eleanor Tomlinson plays Demelza in Poldark. Photograph: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Robert Viglasky
Eleanor Tomlinson plays Demelza in Poldark.
Photograph: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Robert Viglasky

OK… I love watching Poldark! Equally so does my husband, my friends and my mother and father-in law. Yet even this addictive Sunday night viewing doesn’t seem to be unscathed from the ever-increasing diversity and gender gap debates.

On screen of late, Demelza Poldark appears to be holding the fort in Cornwall, running the mining business as well as running the home and being mother to two. She is also seen positively influencing important wealthy dignitaries for her husband as he takes up his seat in as an MP in Westminster.

Scenes appear on our screens of Demelza reading forlorn letters from her husband as he tells her of his time in London and of his appreciation that she is ‘a much capable equal to he’.  Yet step into 2018 and according to an article in the Guardian, actress Eleanor Tomlinson isn’t considered ‘equal’ to her co-star when it comes to her remuneration.  The BBC defended their policy stating that Aiden Turner who plays Ross Poldark has significantly more screen time than any other character.

But Tomlinson argued that they were equal leads in the show – and certainly in this latest episode I have to agree.

This is not the first time the BBC has fallen foul of gender pay gap reporting with the story unfolding over the last year. In July 2017 the publication of the BBC’s highest-earning presenters revealed an imbalance and sparked an outcry. Director Tony Hall said there is “more to do”.

Actions included reducing the pay of male presenters and increasing the pay of female presenters whilst giving them higher profile programmes on both TV and radio. One presenter Carrie Gracie resigned in protest and has since given evidence to the House of Commons and even prompted The Equality and Human Rights Commission to consider taking further action.

In an unprecedented response the BBC gave her several years back pay which Gracie is now donating to the Fawcett Society a leading charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights.

And it’s not just high-profile organisations who have to report on their gender pay gap. For businesses and charities with over 250 employees, data must have published by 4 April each year. Public sector organisations must publish by 30 March each year.

A wide pay gap may not mean that men and women doing similar roles are paid differently, as in the BBC, but reflects that women are often in lower paid roles.

With submission deadlines just around the corner organisations really need to get a strategy into place setting out how they intend to tackle this gap.  In addition to gathering data on pay and gender organisations should consider; removing unconscious bias in the management structure, revising recruitment policies, looking at opportunities to mentor, developing and promoting women and introducing flexible working.

If you need help developing a holistic diversity and inclusion strategy that starts at the top of the organisation with board directors, get in touch.  Our TRIBE Diversity Accelerator ™ has been designed to set the organisational drumbeat for generations to come.