Every International Women’s Day photos of smiling women appear in a constant stream on social media along with testimonials from brands that seek to demonstrate their support for gender equality.
This week, however, the stream was thwarted by a Twitter account that posted data on pay gaps for companies, schools and nonprofits.
Whenever a university or hospital in the UK advertises International Women’s Day on Twitter this week with certain keywords or hashtags, including #IWD and #BreakTheBias, the pay gap account automatically retweets a message with a note of how the average hourly wage for women working in an organization compared to men’s.
Francesca Lawson, a copywriter and social media manager in Manchester, England, created an automated account or bot with her partner Ali Fence, a software consultant.
“The bot exists to give employees and members of the public the opportunity to hold these companies accountable for their role in perpetuating inequality,” said 27-year-old Ms. Lawson. pay gap ”.
Since 2018, the British government requires companies with 250 or more employees to report the pay gap between men and women each year. Reports are available to the public at government website with searchability.
Ms Lawson said she had set up a Twitter account to make it easier for the public to retrieve this information. “For it to have an impact, people need to be able to find it,” Ms. Lawson said.
On Wednesday, the day after International Women’s Day, there were more than 205,000 subscribers on the pay gap. Some organizations deleted tweets that were noted in the pay gap account, while others responded with their plans to close the pay gap.
The charity English Heritage, which manages historic sites such as Stonehenge, said its workers were paid 3.9 percent less than men for reference to his report according to data from April 2020
“Since then, we have been making every effort to reduce the pay gap, and it is shrinking.” English heritage said on Twitter. “But regardless of its size, the gap remains a gap, and the charity is working to close it.”
The pay gap account provides data on the average hourly wage, but companies in the UK must also provide information on the gap in average bonuses. Some companies also voluntarily provide more data and context in their reports.
Australia and Germany also ordered companies to report pay gaps, but there was no comparative requirement for businesses in the United States, where women’s annual wages were 82.3 percent of men’s in 2020. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The gap is even bigger for black and Hispanic women.
Ms. Lawson said she hopes the popularity of her account will show that there is a demand for more such data. “I hope that as a result, other governments will want to make this report mandatory,” she said.
The couple first created an account on the weekend before International Women’s Day in 2021 and used it as a test run to see what worked and what didn’t. They are now trying to figure out how best to use the attention caused by the account to promote other inequality-related issues. Ms. Lawson said she would like to see some copying efforts.
“The more people do this work,” she said, “the fewer places companies can hide.”