The BBC on Friday apologised to its former top editor in China, Carrie Gracie, for underpaying her. The channel said it “has now put this right” by giving her backdated pay. Gracie had resigned from her post in January because of pay inequality with male colleagues.

In an open letter posted on her website in January, Gracie had said there was a “crisis of trust” at the broadcaster and warned it that it was “breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure”. BBC had promised her a pay on par with its North America editor Jon Sopel when Carrie took over as the channel’s China editor in 2013. But BBC later published data that showed a significant difference in the salaries.

The journalist said on Saturday she will donate the undisclosed amount paid to her to the Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights.

Carrie Gracie said: “I am glad to have been able to resolve this with the BBC Director-General [Tony Hall] – it shows that we can make progress. I am also pleased that my work as China Editor has now been properly recognised by the BBC and relieved that this difficult period is over. For me, this was always about the principle, rather than the money. I’m delighted to donate all the backdated pay from the BBC to help women striving for equality at work.”

Hall said: “I am pleased that we’ve been able to move past our differences and work through things together; we can now look to the future. I’m also glad that Carrie will be contributing to Donalda MacKinnon’s project to make the BBC a great place for women to work. That really matters to me, and I want us to lead the way.”

Gracie will take up to six months of unpaid leave to write and speak, on both China and gender equality.