The 79% alarm clock calls attention to the gender wage gap

It has a ring of truth

The gender pay gap is one of the most stark signs that women and men are still not equals in the work place. Recent statistics released by the UK government have the pay gap sitting static at 19.2% and though efforts are being made to make the matter more transparent in order to prompt companies to do more to change, an interactive infographic created by the BBC shows that at the current rate of change we’re not going to see the wage gap close until the year 2133. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not really expecting to still be working that year so I’d like to see things move a little faster.

The problem is, the gender wage gap isn’t something visual we see every day we go into work, we’re only really reminded of its importance and severity when studies are released or events take place to call attention to it. For things to move faster perhaps we need a more constant reminder of the issue, which is the idea behind the 79% work clock.

In the US, the gender pay gap statistics are marginally different to those in the UK, sitting at around 21% rather than 19.2% so in the US women who work full-time are on average only paid 79% of what men are. Created as part of MTV’s Look Different campaign, the 79% work clock aims to call attention to this gap by ringing 79% through the work day to remind workplaces that after a certain point in the day, women aren’t being paid for the work they’re doing. So for example in the average 9-t0-5 work day, the clock would ring at 3.20pm.


The 79% figure is the gap for women in the US as a whole, but the campaign’s website points out that for women of colour the problem is even greater. To help women get a more accurate sense of where in their work day they might as well pack up and head home, the work clock website has a section where you can enter your race and average work day hours to calculate your personal pay gap. Perhaps a daily reminder like this is exactly what we need to make the inequality harder to ignore.

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