Monday, June 5, 2023

The Twitter Bot That Helped Highlight The Hypocrisy of International Women’s Day… By Shaming Companies For Their Gender Pay Gap

Let's be friends!

The books we're reading, the vibrators we're using, the rants we're having and more in our weekly EDM.

Finally, a good use for Twitter as we look at the little bot that could: by highlighting the gender pay gap in high-profile companies.

On a Tuesday morning work Zoom, Team Capsule all admitted that something about this particular International Women’s Day had really stuck in our teeth. Maybe it’s because we’re so tired, maybe it’s the state of the world, maybe it’s because of the utter flurry of press releases we got in the 24 hours before IWD that basically read like a panicked admission that a) Women exist?! And b) They have a day?!

Every year, we watch as every brand/person/account/business feels the need to echo this, with an inspirational quote, beautiful image or absolutely stark statistic about how utterly screwed ‘women’ still are, in 2023.

And then a shrewd little Twitter bot came and punctured through the pink hot air that surrounds this date, by simply presenting the facts which are the sword in the side of most companies: the gender pay gap.

Now, I still couldn’t really tell you what a bot is – automated reply system? I think? The reason I have to ‘click all images that have a plane in them?’ when trying to buy something pink and overpriced? – but I mostly associate them with damage TO women: the #lockherup bots of the Trump/Clinton election, the very many ones that targeted our own female prime minister in the past.

But this bot? I would buy this bot all the sparkling rosé and jazzy pink razors (more expensive than non-pink razors) and ‘fun Mom’ wine signs in the world, because it did a very simple but effective thing. For every UK company that posted a ‘Happy International Women’s Day’ message, talking very compassionately about how they valued women, the bot retweeted the original message but added the facts about what the gender pay gap was in that particular company.

And the results were chaos.

So many of the original tweets have now been deleted because you simply can’t have a woman in purple looking tough but happy as the face of your brand, when the heading above her reads: “In this organisation, women’s median hourly pay is 32.4% lower than men’s.”

I mean, it’s not like they weren’t warned: The Twitter bio for this bot simply reads:
“Employers, if you tweet about International Women’s Day, I’ll retweet your gender pay gap.”

The gender pay gap is insidious, complicated, infuriating and a global problem. It’s also, as we wrote in our International Women’s Day story, a sliding gap: A Pākehā woman’s pay gap to her white male counterpart is 9%, a Pasifika’s woman’s pay gap to her white male counterpart is 20%. The compound effects of the gender pay gap contribute to the fact that women reach retirement age with almost 25% less in their KiwiSaver and are more likely to live in poverty in their older years. The consequences are very, very real.

The gender pay gap is one of the many ways the odds are financially stacked against women and it’s also the easiest to prove. The reason this tiny bot (are bots tiny?) was about to highlight the hypocrisy of brands with a single tweet is because all of their salaries were public record. If your company still has a gender pay gap problem in this environment, where women are the most aware, the most furious and the most exhausted we’ve ever been, then you absolutely deserve to have the shit ripped out of you on Twitter when you line up your sole five female employees, plonk a ‘We love women’ t-shirt on them and then make them keep working alongside their more financially secure male counterparts.

A very smart friend of mine summed it up perfectly when we were text griping about why we hated this day so much. “They should rebrand it as ‘Pay Us’ day.”

Happy reading.

Maximum Colour or Minimalist Monochrome – What’s Your Work from Home Style? (& the Benefits of Both WFH Looks)

Level up the WFH space with either a calm, chic neutrals, or fun, fizzing colour, with the help of our pals at Logitech -...

Loss, Grief and… Eternal Life? How Two Deaths and a TV Show Have Already Shaped This Week

This week has certainly made Sarah Lang reflect on a few things - a few huge things in fact: death and grief, but also...

STOP THE SPREAD: Do We Need to Ban ‘Manspreading’?

Sarah Lang learns about the phenomenon of ‘manspreading’. Is it always disrespectful or sometimes necessary? (Plus if you love a rant, check out our...

My Husband Cheated on Me Then BLAMED Me – What Should I Do?!

Would a man really dare to cheat on his wife/partner then blame her? Yep. Sarah Lang thinks any expletives and capitalisations in this story...