This International Women’s Day (IWD), I want to celebrate the brilliantly simple idea by Francesca Lawson and Ali Fensome.
The Gender Pay Gap Bot.
If you’ve not seen it, it’s an automated Twitter account that “spends International Women’s Day annoying your social media and comms teams.”.
Basically, every time a company on the Government’s gender pay gap service database tweets about IWD, the bot replies with the company’s gender pay gap.
Let me level with you: I support the need for IWD at a UN global level but, like many important awareness days and weeks, I also think IWD should be EVERY day, not just March 8th.
And this is why I love the Gender Pay Gap Bot.
Although it only operates for a few days around IWD, its purpose is to remind companies that grand gestures aren’t enough, the hard work needs to happen every day.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
It knows data matters in equality
If you’ve read Invisible Women, you will have sworn a lot (I took it on holiday last year. Don’t do this, it will just make you cross when you’re trying to relax).
You’ll also know there is bias against (or non-representation of) women in data. This means, for example, ‘women are 73% more likely to be seriously injured or die than a man in the same [car] crash’ and that there is a ‘heart medication…meant to prevent heart attacks but at a certain point in a woman’s menstrual cycle is actually more likely to trigger a heart attack.’ So, first up, this idea recognises the importance of there being data that specifically looks at women’s experiences.
It holds a mirror up.
I love how the Gender Pay Gap Bot highlights data discrepancy and a 'say/do' gap. It takes data from a boring website that probably otherwise wouldn’t be seen. Then, it uses it to hold companies to account, in front of an audience. Their audience.
It’s necessary tech.
Now, I like a more analogue idea as much as the next person. Richard Herring’s sadly now retired annual IWD marathon replying to men asking ‘When International Men’s Day is?’ was an amazing feat. But it was funny because it wasn’t automated.
Gender Pay Gap Bot IMO only works because it IS automated.
Rather than a lone human voice rallying against a big organisation, the bot just lays the facts out straight.
Creatively, it’s always tempting to use the latest tech for the sake of it. This bot does it because it’s needed, not just novel.
It celebrates the good, too.
At the time of writing, the vast majority of bot tweets involved a gender pay gap where women’s median pay was lower than men’s.
However, amongst these were some shining stars with pay parity – shout out to the wonderfully eclectic combo of Derby City Council, ODEON Cinemas, and the Royal College of Music.
People change by feeling good, not by feeling bad.
The bot doesn’t just highlight where there’s room for doing better, it also shows success and improvement.
The Gender Pay Gap bot doesn’t have a Gender Work Gap.
When you read this intro to this, did you think Ali was a man or a woman? The Gender Pay Gap Bot team is 50:50 male:female.
IWD isn’t for women alone. It’s for everyone.
So, today, look at the bot feed.
If you work for a company employing over 250 people maybe even check out how it fares, but most importantly, remember this matters—the other 364 days of the year and that creativity has a big part to play in change.
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