It’s Equal Pay Day and this Twitter bot is calling out companies that pay men more than women

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Organizations around the world took to social media last week to show their support for International Women’s Day. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, for many businesses, attaching a succinct #IWD2022 or #BreakTheBias hashtag to a carefully curated Instagram post or tweet begins and ends.


Juan Moyano | Getty Images

In the US and elsewhere, the gender pay gap persists. Today, March 15th, is Equal Pay Day in the US – chosen according to the National Committee on Pay Equity because “this date symbolizes how far in the year women have to work to earn what men earned the previous year .” Data from the Pew Research Center shows that women were earning 84% of what men were earning in 2020, and that gap is widening for some women of color.

A British couple decided to call the organizations that literally don’t put their money where their mouths are. Francesca Lawson, a copywriter and social media manager in Manchester, England, and her partner Ali Fensome, a software consultant, created a Twitter bot, @PayGapAppthat retweets posts from businesses, schools, and nonprofits with keywords or hashtags related to International Women’s Day, along with a note showing how women’s pay compares to men’s within the organization.

Unlike US companies, UK companies with 250 or more employees have been required to publish information on gender pay gaps every year since 2018. The large amount of data available to the public on a searchable government website shows that men working full-time employees in the country earned 7.9% more than women in April 2021.

Of course, both Twitter users and retweeted organizations had a lot to say about the Gender Pay Gap Bot revelations (or at least those who didn’t delete the tweets calling them out did).

Related: How to close the pay gap on #EqualPayDay

Where women are paid less than men

Post after post of Gender Pay Gap Bot demonstrates the stark difference between how women and men are paid. At the renowned management consultancy McKinsey & Company, hourly wages for women are 22.3% lower than for men. The stat appears above the company’s retweeted post, which reads, “Meet Francesca, ‘I believe there is no mountain too high to climb!'” and includes video of a woman hiking through rocky terrain.

Twitter users didn’t hold back.

“Keep climbing Francesca… to another company,” wrote one user. Another quipped, “Watch out for the peak – there’s a glass ceiling up there!” Still another commented, “It’s not like they’re telling other companies how to be run or anything. It’s probably fine.” Inevitably, one user tried to claim that the gender pay gap was a myth propagated by different life choices, but another user was quick to clarify: “You can easily search ‘gender pay gap’ on Google Scholar. seek and experience as it is indeed not a myth.”

Additionally, the post includes lingerie company Boux Avenue, which includes a picture of a purple lace bra and reads, “Anyone obsessed with wearing purple atm? The official color of International Women’s Month. We have the perfect set for YOU! Say hello to Mackenna: super cute, comfy and totally in tune with the season, what’s not to love?” received some particularly snarky remarks as the bot revealed the organization pays women an average hourly wage that’s 31.4% lower is than that of men.

“I’m obsessed with equality and I pay women what they’re worth,” commented one user. Another wrote, “Funny how International Women’s Day has become a marketing opportunity for companies that actually exploit women.” “What’s not to love is that you underpay women,” chipped in another.

Some organizations, like Save the Children UK, where the average hourly wage for women is 5% lower than men, chose to ban the bot account, but that didn’t stop the comments from rolling. “Deleted for 5%?” one user wrote. “That’s a really bad look.” Another added: “They didn’t delete the bot account, they blocked it, causing the tweet to disappear from quote tweets the blocked account created. If you go to their site, it’s still there. Imho even worse.”

Related: Why leadership is key to closing the gender pay gap

On the other side of the coin, some organizations used the bot’s retweet as an opportunity to show their commitment to do better. The bot retweeted financial institution GoCardless’ #IWD post, in which it highlighted the company’s director of security and privacy risks, noting that women’s hourly wages at the organization are 19.9% ​​lower than men’s.

One user wrote: “Oh wow so many options@GoCardless could do better by putting their 19.9% ​​in the spotlight #Gender pay gap. If the stats are correct, then feedback is indeed a gift and needs to be acted upon #PayEquity #Same salary #PayParity would be even better #BreaktheBias.” GoCardless responded to the user, admitting, “We need to close this wage gap. We are making progress and our median and median pay gap have shown a downward trend since 2019, with the median pay gap narrowing significantly. We have also increased the proportion of women in our leadership population from 16% to 28% since 2019.”

When it was revealed that women’s hourly wages at English Heritage, a charity that manages historic sites like Stonehenge, are 3.9% lower than men’s, the organization was quick to show its support for transparency. “This is based on April 2020 data,” the English Heritage account wrote. “Since then we have worked hard to close our pay gap and it is closing. But regardless of its size, a void is still a void, and the charity is committed to filling it. Learn more at https://bit. ly/3KsRNPG.”

See Also: The Gender Pay Gap Inspires More Women To Create Their Own Paycheck

Where men and women are paid equally

A much smaller sample of posts included organizations that have already prioritized equal pay for women and men. For example, hourly wages are equal for men and women at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College — a rare occurrence, users exclaimed. “Honestly one of the first ones I saw,” wrote one person. Another commented: “Hooray!!”

Where women are paid more than men

Although most posts highlight men’s higher earnings, there are a few surprising standouts. At Nottinghamshire Healthcare, women’s average hourly wage is 6.5% higher than men’s, prompting a range of enthusiastic reactions from Twitter users: ‘Finally a win for the ladies’, ‘Well that’s good news. This is what I’ve been waiting for!” and “Finally. It’s the only one. Well done Notts Healthcare.”

Likewise, at Marylebone Cricket Club, women’s median hourly wage is 15.5% higher than men’s, prompting positive comments such as: ‘This surprised me given their historical sexism, misogyny etc’ and more skeptical: ‘It’s a cricket club Club for women again.”

Finally, at Barnet Council, women’s median hourly wage is 25.5% higher than men’s. “I’ll be honest, this wasn’t something I expected,” wrote one user. “Damn yes!” said another.

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