LONDON — The journalist who resigned as the BBC’s China editor to protest the broadcaster’s gender pay gap said on Monday that she was offered a raise before quitting, but one that still did not bring her to the level of her male peers.
The sudden resignation by Carrie Gracie, the BBC’s top journalist in China, was met with a wave of support from her peers in the British media. It comes with international attention focused on the wider issue of gender disparity, from entrenched differences in compensation to the harassment and, in some cases, assault of women in the workplace.
It has also fueled renewed criticism of Britain’s publicly funded broadcaster, which last summer published the salaries of its top stars. The data revealed a startling gap in pay between its most senior male and female journalists. In the aftermath of the release of the figures, the BBC’s most senior women journalists demanded the organization take action to close that divide.
On Monday, Ms. Gracie indicated that any changes so far had not gone far enough. In an interview on BBC radio, she said she had filed an official complaint after the pay data showed that two of her male peers were paid far more than she was.
BBC executives responded by offering her a raise that would have pushed her salary to 180,000 pounds, or $245,000, from £135,000. That salary would still have been lower than those of her male counterparts, however.
“I was not interested in more money,” Ms. Gracie said on Monday. “I was interested in equality, and I kept saying to my managers that I didn’t need more money, I just needed to be made equal and that can be done in a variety of ways.”
Ms. Gracie had been one of four international editors at the BBC. For the year that ended in March 2017, Jon Sopel, the North America editor, was paid between £200,000 and £249,999 annually, according to the data released by the BBC. Jeremy Bowen, the Middle East editor, was paid between £150,000 and £199,999.
But Ms. Gracie and Katya Adler, the Europe editor, did not make the £150,000 threshold to have their salaries made public.
“I just decided that enough was enough,” Ms. Gracie said. “I could not go back to China and collude knowingly in what I considered to be unlawful pay discrimination.” She said that she had entered a formal grievance process, but that there had been little progress.
Several of her colleagues voiced support for her decision.
Ms. Adler described Ms. Gracie’s resignation as a “huge loss,” and Sarah Montague, a presenter on the broadcaster’s flagship morning radio program, “Today,” said in a tweet that she was “brave and brilliant.”
“Not sure what is so hard to understand about #equalpay for equal work,” Ms. Montague wrote.
And Kirsty Wark, a presenter on the BBC’s nightly television current affairs program, “Newsnight,” added that she was “proud to stand with” Ms. Gracie. All four women were among the 42 who called on the BBC to take action to close the gender pay gap.
The debate over the gender pay gap has grown louder in Britain in recent months, particularly after the government required large companies to publish the average salaries of the men and women they employ. These companies have until April 2018 to report the information. British law already requires that men and women should receive equal pay for the same job, a fact Ms. Gracie pointed to in her resignation letter.
At least in the case of the BBC, Ms. Gracie’s resignation could force the broadcaster to do more to resolve disparities.
“She’s a competent woman, she’s highly qualified,” said Marianna Fotaki, professor of business ethics at Warwick Business School. “It gives courage to other, less prominent women to come forward.”
In a statement, the broadcaster said an independent audit of pay showed “no systemic discrimination against women,” and added that it was “performing considerably better than many” other organizations that had published their gender pay figures.