You’re probably familiar with the very resonant phrases ‘greenwashing’, ‘pinkwashing’ and ‘femvertising’ – all referencing the tendency of commercial brands to hop onto social causes in order to promote their products in an empty way. Businesses who put Pride flags on their social media profiles during Pride Month but who do nothing to materially promote or support LGBTQ+ rights; companies that hold ‘women’s empowerment breakfasts’ on International Women’s Day but who still pay their female staff less. Many of the latter got their comeuppance on International Women’s Day this year, thanks to the Gender Pay Gap Bot.
Three simple, brilliant, ingredients went into this campaign:
- The data on the pay gap at the various organisations was taken from publicly available UK Gov statistics
- A Twitter bot was created to quote-tweet organisations when they tweeted about International Women’s Day
- The bot simply outlined the stark facts: the specific gender pay gap at each organisation, no further commentary
It was truly inspired. Incredible use of the Twitter platform, exposing hypocrisy right as it was posted. The bot trended and it had an immediate effect: a large number of companies scrambled to delete or repost their IWD tweets (which was of course noted by Twitter users following the campaign).
The activists behind this, Francesca Lawson and Ali Fensome, managed to elegantly and effectively draw awareness to two issues: the gender pay gap, and the use of social causes to hide poor business practices. It’s so gratifying to see a digital campaign that’s so perfectly designed for the platform that it’s on. Brands use Twitter to try to hop on social causes; activists use Twitter to embarrass them. Beautifully done.
For more about the Gender Pay Gap Bot: