Instead of posting a Doodle to raise awareness about Equal Pay Day, Google chose to make a strong statement on Twitter about its commitment to eliminating the pay gap. In the tweet, posted early this morning, the tech company says that not only is it committed to closing the pay gap — it has already done so across all of its offices around the world.
This news is especially significant when you consider that the tech industry has one of the largest pay gaps on record. In a November 2016 report, Glassdoor’s chief economist Andrew Chamberlain looked at compensation across 16 of the most popular tech roles, including computer programmers, software engineers, and mobile developers. Though many people argue that pay differs among men and women in tech because of the roles they are in, Chamberlain found this was far from true.
Of the companies Glassdoor examined, 75% had "gender pay gaps above the national average of 5.4%, even after controlling for workers’ education, experience, geographic location, and more," he wrote in the report. Among male and female computer programmers, that gap was especially alarming. On average, men made 28.3% more than women.
Google also issued an important call to action in this morning's tweet: “Let’s make every day #EqualPayDay.” The tweet includes a link to re:Work, a Google site with guides for improving workplace culture. One of those guides is focused on pay equity, offering tips on how businesses can implement equal compensation. In an opinion piece published last year in the Washington Post, Laszlo Bock, the former SVP of people operations at Google, echoed this advice, saying that asking job applicants how much money they are currently making only widens the wage gap.
Many people have responded negatively to Google's tweet, calling the gender wage gap "fake news" and a myth. There are plenty of facts that prove pay parity is still an issue in the U.S. Unfortunately, a simple tweet from Google is unlikely to fix things. Recognizing the problem is a positive step, though it would be nice if today's tweet included specific data to back up Google's claims.
It’s 2017, and yet women are still fighting for equality. Data suggests it will take until 2152 to close the gender wage gap, but it shouldn’t take a century to get what we want. We want more, and Refinery29 is here to help — because 135 years is too long to wait for what we deserve today.