But the hollowness of feel-good gender empowerment messages is particularly embarrassing for companies who prepared branded #StoptheBias campaigns for International Women’s Day. Several organizations have already deleted their social media posts.

Who made the bot?

Gender Pay Gap was a “lockdown project” conceived by Francesca Lawson, a Manchester-based freelance copywriter and Alastair Fensome, a software developer also from the same city. “[We] built it to put the gender pay gap data in the spotlight and enable the public to hold companies to account over the words of ’empowerment’, ‘inspiration’, and ‘celebration’ they tweet on International Women’s Day,” Lawson explains in an email to Quartz. “The data shows that their supportive posts are rarely backed up by action.”

For future International Women’s Day celebrations, Lawson hopes companies will spend less time crafting external messages and more time looking internally. “I want employers to stop treating International Women’s Day as a Hallmark holiday and start taking responsibility for the inequalities in their organizations,” she says.

The average gender pay gap in the UK is 15.4%, per 2020 numbers. It’s a similar scenario in the US, where women are making 16% less than what their male colleagues earn, according to a 2020 study by Pew Research Center.

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