The Dave Hughes/Kate Langbroek partnership on KIIS FM, is, in no uncertain terms, the perfect combo. He is the burger to her fries, and together they make the drive home from work a little more bearable.
But for a long time, the executives at KIIS presumably felt that the burger in that combo was more essential. 40 per cent more essential to be precise.
On International Women’s Day this year, Kate Langbroek chose to expose the situation on air, describing the subject matter as ‘heavy hitting’ but pertinent, given the day.
“You don’t know about this,” Langbroek said. “I found out last year that you get paid 40 per cent more than I do for doing this show.”
Hughes was audibly shocked.
“I had no idea what we get paid,” he said to Langbroek. “Now I feel terrible”.
“You don’t need to feel terrible,” Langbroek said. “It wasn’t your fault that you were born with two oranges in a string bag.”
“In all that time I have adored you, it’s not about you, it’s just about the recognition of us and what we do.”
Hughes said on Monday that he was left “reeling” after the subject was brought up and that he had been in the dark about what Kate earned at the time.
But both Langbroek and Hughes, chose not to leave the conversation at an impasse.
Langbroek went on to push for pay parity with execs, which was granted to her soon after she requested it. Hughes backed his co-host up, telling KIIS bosses that he was prepared to take a pay-cut to ensure Langbroek was paid equally. He tweeted yesterday that she deserved every cent.
She deserves every cent!!!!! https://t.co/1R2BZ0qZnM
— Dave Hughes (@DHughesy) October 18, 2017
The duo reflected on Hughes’ response, in the wake of Lisa Wilkinson’s shock departure from the Today show. Wilkinson, a veteran of Channel Nine, resigned this week, after the network failed to meet her demands for equal pay. Including bonuses, Wilkinson’s co-host, Karl Stefanovic, reportedly earned more than double her salary.
With reference to this, Langbroek appealed to men in Australia to stand up for what is right.
“You told them (network bosses) you wanted to be on parity this year with me, and Stefanovic presumably didn’t,’ she said.
“Now, I’m not saying he doesn’t do more and that he doesn’t deserve it…but what I’m saying is that if you’re going to have a working partnership with someone, if you really care about women not being paid the same, men have to stand up and make it happen. Because men are the ones who are drawing up the pay packets, generally.”
While Langbroek didn’t require Hughes’ help in this instance (securing pay parity before he stepped in) her situation was unique. Her bosses at KIIS acted quickly to ensure the right decision was made and Kate was remunerated fairly. Most women aren’t so lucky.
— kate langbroek (@katelangbroek) October 18, 2017
The truth is this: women don’t need men to be their saviours, but we do often need their support. We need them to actively take a stand and fight for what’s fair. Because, as Langbroek aptly points out, men are often the ones calling the shots. And when other men call out how arbitrary these decisions can be, it’s pretty, damn powerful.
It also begs the question: What would have happened if Stefanovic had done the same thing?