Twitter bot highlights gender pay gap one company at a time
Updated: Apr 17, 2022
On every International Women's Day, images of happy and smiling women flood various streams on social media alongside congratulatory and testimonial messages from brands and organizations eager to show the world thy support gender equality. Unfortunately, such messages and actions on International Women's day do not reflect that women are often paid lower salaries than their male colleagues.
This year, Francesca Lawson, a copywriter and social-media manager in Manchester, England, and her partner Alastair Fensome, a software consultant, created @PayGapApp, a Twitter bot that replied to every tweet that used the hashtag #IWD2022 with a quote tweet highlighting the disparity in salary between men and women in the company. Unlike U.S. companies, organizations in Britain with 250 or more employees are currently required to release information on salary differences between men and women.
As a result of this initiative, numerous companies that decided to share how proud they were of the women that worked for them, but were not paying them equally, were publicly shamed by the bot. Some of the companies that were called out decided to delete their tweets or reposted them without the hashtag to prevent being associated with the quote tweet.
West Mercia Police was one of the organizations that were called out by the bot. After the organization tweeted about “the importance of challenging bias and stereotypes,” the bot said: "In this organization, women's medium hourly pay is 22.9% lower than men's.” Therefore, through this initiative, Twitter joins the fight against the gender pay gap by reminding business organizations and other employers both in the private and public sectors to practice equality in their workplaces.
In the U.S., gender pay gap has remained stable for the past fifteen years, with women earning 84% of what men earned. The gender gap is an issue that requires joined efforts from different stakeholders to eradicate because it promotes inequality in society. The initiative developed by the creators of this bot forced organizations to rethink how they pay their workers. Hopefully, it will encourage them to make the changes that need to be made to generate an equal environment in the workplace.
By Yu-Chun Lin
Yu-Chun Lin is an international student who had the opportunity to study abroad and decided to attend San Diego State University. Her major is Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. She hopes to work in PR within a market research investment company.