Employment

Which companies have improved their gender pay gap since last year's International Women's Day - and which haven't?

The Gender Pay Gap Bot is back, baby, and this International Women’s Day it's out to see if anyone's learnt from last year's furor

Image: Unsplash / Christina @ wocintechchat.com

It’s International Women’s Day and the much loved (and feared) Gender Pay Gap Bot is back to reveal the truth behind the performative feminism of social media. 

But this time it’s got an extra feature to further reinforce its motto of “deeds not words”. 

“This year we’ll be able to see which companies, if any, have learned from last year and take a different approach. Exciting times!” bot co-creator Francesca Lawson told the Big Issue.

“If there’s two consecutive years of data for the company on [the government website] we’re showing the year-on-year change. Which is important to see which companies are genuinely working to reduce the pay gap, and which companies are allowing it to widen,” she continued. 

For their sake, we hope they’ve put in the work. 

The Gender Pay Gap Bot has been holding companies across the UK to account since 2021 by sharing publicly available gender pay gap figures, which measure women’s median hourly pay compared to men’s.  

While the app runs all year round, it achieves an added level of popularity on IWD, as brands on Twitter go into overdrive to proclaim their commitment to female empowerment. 

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Born into the world just in time for IWD 2021, the bot managed to tweet 900 times before being blocked by Twitter, which accused the bot of “spamming”.

The following year saw a tweaked Bot V2 (which spread out tweets rather than retweeting instantly) boom in popularity as amused Twitter users watched companies rush to delete their fluffy tweets after they’d been attached to some rather embarrassing gender pay gap home truths. 

And it seems some companies, despite their outward commitment to gender equality, have made little progress in addressing pay inequality. Throwing stones from glass houses, and all that. 

Lloyds Bank was one of the early victims of its own hypocrisy, as the bot pointed out the yawning 41 per cent gender pay gap at the company in response to promotion of an online event for International Women’s Day.

Aren’t banks supposed to be experts in money management? 

Santander, too, seems to have struggled a little with the numbers, with the bank’s gender pay gap widening by 3.4 percentage points on last year, leaving women’s median hourly pay is 30.4 per cent lower than men’s.

The Palladian Academy Trust deleted their IWD tweet after this cheeky bot revealed that not only is women’s median hourly pay is 65.1 per cent lower than men’s at the group of 11 schools in Bath and Wiltshire, but the gap is 38.2 percentage points wider than last year. That’s one way to handle bad press. 

But it’s not all bad news, and some companies have made progress. Cinema chain ODEON has made its gender pay gay 5 percentage points smaller than the previous year. 

And it looks like the Royal Academy of Music has put in the effort this last 12 months, by reducing their gender pay gap by 10 percentage points to achieve pay parity between men and women. 

Cathay Pacific have done a full 180 after their abysmal gender pay gap last year (women’s median hourly pay was 54.6 per cent lower than men’s), with women’s median hourly pay now 9.5 per cent higher than men’s.

And in an added bonus feature, Twitter users can now request pay gap data for an account’s company, by posting: @paygapapp pay gap for [company name], seen here for Nando’s Chickenland, also known as Nando’s. 

This International Women’s Day, make sure to get under the skin of some of your favourite companies to see what they’re really doing to tackle gender equality, because actions speak louder than words.


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