Gender Pay Gap Bot

A Twitter bot that posts UK companies' gender pay gap statistics in response to their International Women's Day promotional tweets

The gender pay gap bot is activated annually on the 8th of March, International Womens Day. It contrasts companies' marketing material on women's empowerment with their factual engagement in gender equality. Scraping payroll data from the publicly available database of the UK government, the bot automatically responds to tweets from companies containing keywords relating to the IWD by tweeting on how the female employees' median hourly pay compares to that of the male employees in the specific company and since 2023 adding how this difference has changed since the year before.

Since it was launched in March 2021 by freelance copywriter Francesca Lawson and programmer Ali Fensome, the bot has published 11,582 tweets, gathering 250 000 followers (as of June 2023), and continues to be reported on in different media every year.

Lawson started the project because she was tired of reading empty solidarity phrases penned by marketing departments while experiencing the realities of gender inequality in the workplace left insufficiently or not addressed at all the rest of the year. The bot posts the non-adjusted gender pay gap for each of the companies, describing overall differences in pay stemming from various societal dynamics. These lead to more women in lower-paid industries (occupational segregation), fewer women in senior positions (vertical segregation), barriers for women to enter the labor market, and an overall gap between the amount of paid working hours. At 77% of companies in the UK, women's median hourly pay is less than men's. With voices expressing concerns about gender inequality and discrimination often brushed off as being too sensitive and emotional, the chosen factual and plain language of the bot effectively reveals the hollow nature of many of the marketing gestures.

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