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Adland comes out in support of Equal Pay Day

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Equal Pay Day (April 4) is a movement dedicated to showing how much further into the year a woman, on average, must work to earn what her male counterpart earned the previous year. The day, originated by the National Committee on Pay Equality (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event, is now being embraced by more and more people and businesses around the globe, and this year, adland is really stepping up its game in order to raise awareness of that fact that equal pay is still an issue, even in the relatively progressive industry of advertising.

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As well as changing the “o” in its name to the women's symbol for the next two weeks, Doner launched the “Exit 3:24” campaign today. The concept behind the initiative, which was promoted via a charming PSA video (below), is that the Doner workforce will walk out at 3:24pm, when 80% of its workday is complete, in solidarity with women and minorities who, on average, make only 80% of what their male co-workers make. Doner hosted walkouts today in Detroit, Cleveland, Los Angeles and London at 3:24pm local time, to demonstrate the agency’s commitment to eliminating wage disparities in the workforce. The agency is also enlisting an independent consultant to conduct a global wage audit (which could take months) and help the agency lead the industry toward more fair and conscientious compensation practices.

Doner global president and chief executive David DeMuth, said: “With Exit 3:24, we want to help pave the way toward fairness and transparency in our industry, especially as it pertains to wage equality. We are also following through on a commitment we made to our employees last year, when we conducted a global talent survey that identified fairness as an area where we could improve on our promise to be a top global employer. On April 4, Doner will change our sign, close our business at 3:24pm, and commit to a comprehensive wage audit that looks at how we compensate our employees fairly and objectively. Our hope is that others will join us in this commitment to making progress on an issue that unreasonably persists across a majority of industries.”

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Along with Exit 3:24, Doner is also partnering with the national 3% Conference to bring the event to Detroit for the first time on May 18 to underline the dialogue around the lack of female creative leadership in advertising. Kat Gordon (above), founder of The 3% Movement, said: “You can't claim to value women equally if you don't pay them equally. It's one of the metrics measured as part of our 3% Certified program and agencies that have conducted audits truly stand apart as leaders in this crusade. Kudos to Doner for committing to equal pay and inviting other agencies to take the pledge to join them.”

Doner is not the only agency making a stand on Equal Pay Day either. A collective of creatives from R/GA and The Muse have teamed up with Ladies Get Paid, Reply.ai and PayScale to launch the “Ask For A Raise” chatbot alongside IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn activist Cindy Gallop (below), which aims to provide actionable guidance for women seeking a raise. The bot, using plenty of Cindy’s notoriously spicy language, encourages women to get the salary deserve. You can find the bot by searching for @AskCindyGallop in the Facebook Messenger app. The bot comments back with sass, infusing Gallop’s profane personality into tips on bargaining and the data behind the wage gap. Gallop herself did a promo video for the bot (above), stating that the makers asked if she would do it for free. You can probably guess what her response was.

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Closer to home, meanwhile, the independent European agency mortierbrigade created a video (below) in partnership with Equal Pay Day Europe (which fell this year on February 22) that features a 9-year-old girl working with President Donald Trump on his speeches as his spin-doctor. The video is inspired by a study which found that Trump’s grammar in his speeches is “just below 6th grade level” (year 6 in the UK, so 11 and 12 year olds). The video tackles the pay gap issue by insinuating that this is exactly the age women should start working at to make as much money as men do during their lifetime.

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from Kidderminster in the UK.

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