A Viral Twitter Account Uses International Women’s Day to Highlight the Gender Pay Gap
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A viral Twitter account, called @PayGapApp, is using its platform to highlight the hypocrisy of a number of companies around the world on International Women’s Day.
The global holiday is now a permanent fixture in the calendar to celebrate the achievements of women around the world and to also highlight issues that still exist today. These include gender inequality, reproductive rights, and violence against women.
While some brands are sincere with their social media messaging on International Women’s Day, others come across poorly. The @PayGapApp account has been targeting these types of brands throughout the day this year, calling them out on how they treat their female employees.
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Think Before you Tweet
The aim of the account is to make the point that while many large companies are happy to promote International Women’s Day once a year to make themselves look good, many of these same companies aren’t paying their female employees the same as they pay are paying their male employees.
No company or institution has been safe from the wrath of @PayGapApp. As an example, Cognizant – an American IT services and consulting company with a following of nearly 1m on Twitter – shared a video demonstrating how they are celebrating the women who work for them.
However, in a quote tweet of the video, the PayGapApp posted:
“In this organization, women’s median hourly pay is 8% lower than men’s. The pay gap is two percentage points wider than the previous year.”
The account has also gone after the police force in the United Kingdom and the Local Councils which help to make up the British Government. In calling out these institutions, the account hopes to shame them into doing something worthwhile for their female employees rather than offering token gestures once a year.
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How the Account Works
Remarkably, the account isn’t actually manually controlled and is effectively a bot. Francesca Lawson, 28, and Ali Fensome, 28, set the bot up in 2021 after they were inspired by other automated Twitter accounts. After creating it, they said they wanted to force “more accountability” around International Women’s Day.
The bot is able to pull information from public data published by the British government. The account is then triggered to respond every time a company posts something with the #InternationalWomensDay hashtag.
Speaking about her creation, Ms. Lawson told the Daily Mail:
“I always feel a sense of frustration from seeing all these lovely supportive messages from companies but the needle doesn’t seem to be shifting that much on gender equality more generally, but specifically, we can see in the gender pay gap data, it’s still a massive problem.
We’re just looking for a way to actually get this data into the spotlight. By keeping it front of mind, we can use it as a bit of a catalyst just to keep that pressure on companies to act on their data and to use it to inform what they do in their organizations to challenge inequality.”
She added that the account will stay active for years to come, not to try and stop companies from tweeting on International Women’s Day but to force them into a “more considered response.”
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