'Broken' media campaign by Now and Women's Equality Party shines spotlight on gender pay gap

As part of the activity, Twitter users can make their account look like it has stopped working.

The Women’s Equality Party is launching a campaign, created by Now, to shine the spotlight on the gender pay gap.

The work, which launches to coincide with Equal Pay Day today, seeks to make a bigger noise than the first Cannes award-winning "Out of office" campaign. 

It includes the original "out of office" drive, which encourages employees to set a symbolic "out of office" template to highlight pay inequality. 

A range of digital out-of-home sites will appear to have technical faults, while individuals on Twitter can click a button that Now has created to make it seem as though their account is not working. Users on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn can deploy a similar gif. 

Dozens of organisations from across the media industry, including Bumble, Thinkbox, AAR, Clear Channel and Outdoor Plus, have pledged their support to the campaign.

Catherine Mayer, president of the WEP, said: "The Women’s Equality Party is asking women and girls to set their 'out of office' on email and social media on Friday. Because if they aren’t being paid to work, then why should they? This tongue-in-cheek campaign highlights a serious issue: the gender pay gap currently stands at 17.9% and, at this rate, it won’t close for more than a century. Women are rightly fed up at the lack of progress. Requiring companies to publish data on their gender pay gap is a waste of time if they don’t take action to close it."

Identifying one contributing factor to the gender pay gap as the societal expectation that women will shoulder the majority of early-year childcare, the WEP will use the campaign as an opportunity to lobby the government to introduce a mandatory three months of parental leave at 90% of normal weekly pay for each parent, followed by three further months shared between them.

The advertising industry has faced criticism for the size of the gender pay gap at some of the UK’s biggest agencies. Speaking at Creative Equals’ Future Leaders conference in London earlier this week, Sophie Walker, leader of the WEP, challenged J Walter Thompson London, asking: "What kind of business are you running when the disparity of earnings is so huge?"

If you would like to support the campaign, please copy and paste the below and set your 'out of office' accordingly for the rest of the day. 

Subject line
Out of office. For the rest of the year.

Not really. I’m just making a point.

Today is effectively the last day women in the UK are paid to work. Because of the gender pay gap, the average woman is working for free until the end of the year. 

So, if women aren’t getting paid, why should they work?

The pay gap on average is 17.9%, but for some women it’s even worse.

If, like me and the Women’s Equality Party, you think it’s not OK, you can help show your support by copying this message and switching on your "out of office" too.

Click here to see what you can do to help close the gap. 

#OutOfOffice for #EqualPayDay @WEP_UK

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