When you cut off 21 percent of a microwave or tube of toothpaste, it doesn’t work the same way—or at all. Similarly, that’s the story for companies that pay women an average of 21 percent less than men, a point that Jet.com is driving home in honor of Equal Pay Day by literally cutting up the products it sells on its site.
Earlier today, the online retailer hosted a Facebook Live, where a water laser-cutting machine physically shaved off 21 percent of various products, from flat screen TVs to dryer sheets, to show that nothing works when it’s not at parity to others. Viewers could vote on which product to cut, and throughout the broadcast the hosts discussed facts on the pay gap such as the United States ranks 74th among 145 countries in terms of wage equality for similar work.
Jet.com also is covering 21 percent of its homepage today with the message “79 percent is not enough. Women deserve more,” with a link to a letter from its president, Liza Landsman, explaining the gender pay gap and how customers can get involved.
“It’s incredible, not in a good way, that the pay gap is still a thing, and that people don’t know about it,” Landsman said. “This is an easy way for people to visualize it. It’s a simple way to do our part to bring attention to this issue.”
Last year, Jet.com introduced company-wide pay scales to ensure equal pay for all employees in a given role regardless of gender or race. The company also is teaming up with L’Oréal and Unilever to donate to the Female Founders Fund, which focuses on women-led startups.
Creating an “old girls network” makes sense from both an ethical and business standpoint, Landsman added.
“There’s a moral imperative that, of course, people should get equal pay for equal work, but there are also great studies that demonstrate when you have diversity in senior management, and have a diverse set of opinions at the table, you get better business outcomes,” she said.