Our viral IWD campaign cheekily highlighted the gender pay gap

On International Women's Day we delivered cupcakes to companies, but with their gender pay gaps on the icing. Here's what happened.

ICYMI: For this year's International Women's Day (IWD), Missing Perspectives wanted to do something different. What we did ended up going viral - and turns out it really resonated with our audience.

When the gender pay gap data was released the week prior, we were trying to figure out a clever way to combine this new data as part of a tongue-in-cheek campaign around IWD - and poke fun at the tokenistic corporate cupcakes that always get rolled out at this time of year (loathed by basically every woman in corporate Australia).

We had the brainwave the morning of International Women's Day, which meant that we had to (quite literally) race out and execute this idea: put the gender pay gaps on the icing on cupcakes, and leave them out the front of companies in Sydney CBD.

We didn't have time to have the cupcakes professionally made, so we had to literally print and cut up the pay gaps and put on the cupcakes ourselves (shout out to Cupcakes on Pitt, who supplied these delicious cupcakes - and are also a female-owned company themselves!).

What are the gender pay gaps?

Two weeks ago, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) published the gender pay gaps for private sector employers with 100 or more employees for the first time, as required by the amendments to the Workplace Gender Equality Act passed in 2023. 

The WGEA median total remuneration gender pay gap is 19% nationally – meaning that over the course of a year, the median of what a woman is paid is $18,461 less than the median of what a man is paid. 

Of the 19 industry categories listed, the five industries with the largest median total remuneration gender pay gaps are:

  • Construction (31.8%)

  • Financial and Insurance Services (26.1%)

  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (26.1%)

  • Information Media and Telecommunications (24.2%)

  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing (20.4%)

Four well-known consulting companies have the following gender pay gaps: Accenture (17.5%), Bain (30.6%), Boston Consulting Group (35%), McKinsey (38.3%).

In banking, these companies had the following gender pay gaps: ANZ (23.1%), Commonwealth Bank (29.9%), ING Bank (32.2%), NAB (18.8%) and Westpac (28.5%). 

Some of the major law firms fared as follows: Allens (9.8%), Clifford Chance (25.7%), Freehills (15.6%), King and Wood Mallesons (12.3%), Maurice Blackburn (30.7%) and MinterEllison (18.6%).

Our viral campaign: Corporate cupcakes meet gender pay gap data

Drawing on the above publicly available data, we had the thought: why don't we deliver corporate IWD cupcakes to some of the biggest corporations, with their gender pay gaps on the icing?

We placed the cupcakes out the front of some of the big banks, law firms, and consulting firms in the Sydney CBD. We didn't receive a response after posting our content (although there were a few curious security guards and concierge staff at the time!).

For us, rather than naming and shaming (because the WGEA report already contains all the pay gaps, so you can find them there), it was more to highlight the systemic issue of the gender pay gap in a fun, intelligent and creative way that resonates with our audience.

It really blew up for us on Instagram and Tiktok - with the reel on Insta having a total watch time of nearly 100 hours as of this morning. We think it just really resonated with our audience - which is predominantly women aged 25-44 (our favourite comment on the Instagram reel: "Did they find them hard to swallow?"). People have left messages saying that they want to contribute to the campaign next year to scale and get a wider reach and impact.

We're definitely going to take it up a notch next year (but hopefully they'll be lower pay gaps!) - so if you want to get involved, please get in touch!