Social Experiments: Gender Pay Gap

Last week I talked about why I thought the World Toilet Day pop up was such a good idea, this week I’m taking a look at social experiments.

What is a social experiment?

Just as the pop up social experiments can show us a new perspective with raw, pure reactions while being interactive and engaging, a social experiment usually works by setting up a scenario and inviting members of the public to unwittingly interact with the experiment, meaning they’re more likely to give their most honest and raw opinions.

Take a look at this compilation of social experiments to get a better idea.

The gender pay gap has been a big topic of conversation as we continue to battle with equality between the genders. Looking at two different social experiments focusing on this topic we shall see how they use different tactics to get their points across.

Finans For Bundet social experiment

Eloquently put together, this scenario shows us a situation that many people will find very relatable: seeing people do the same job but getting rewarded differently, whether this is more or less, just based on gender. As all the children say, and rightly so, this is unfair, they’ve all done the same job and should, therefore, be rewarded the same.

Using children in this scenario is very effective as it introduces the younger generation to the issue of the gender pay gap, teaching them from a young age that this is unfair and needs to change. Not only does it educate the children in this social experiment but the children also educate us as adults. Admittedly this is common knowledge now and we know it’s unfair but how much has changed?

It’s like the video says at the end, “Unequal pay is unacceptable in the eyes of children? Why should we accept this as adults?”. We know it’s unfair but why do we still carry on day-by-day and just accept this?

The Gender Pay Gap Pub

Putting the shoe on the other foot now, this social experiment let guys feel what it’s like to be given less. It might be a little unfair to punish guys here as they haven’t personally done anything wrong unless they are a business owner that enforces this gender pay gap. However, it does allow them to be more aware of what is going on and understand how it feels.

Awareness was definitely raised, as we can see from the responses at the end, but unfortunately, there were still some mixed feelings on the ‘man tax’. Responses were predominantly positive at least. The beauty of a social experiment is just how honest of a reaction you get from members of the public, especially while they are unaware they are being filmed. Rest assured these people would have consented to be in the final video, hence some being blurred out.

Differing from the previous social experiment using unaware adults in a pub helps to give honest answers that children will generally give. The pub setting helps to relax people, in the UK it’s often a place where people seem comfortable to offer up their true opinion. I feel that if these participants knew they were being filmed there would have been less negative responses. Saying this, some people may have been more positive due to who they were with at the time.

This might seem like I am having a bit of a feminist rant. Honestly, as far as I am aware I have never been a victim of gender prejudice. Personally, I have a bigger issue with the fact that I often got paid less in jobs due to being in a lower age bracket. This would be understandable if legally my younger age meant I was unable to have as many responsibilities but this wasn’t the case. I was doing the same job but getting paid less meaning I had to work more hours to make it up. Taking into account that in many of these companies where a pay gap is present men take up the majority of higher-paid jobs is also important. Why is this?

Back to the platform of social experiments rather than the focused subject here.

You’re not usually going to use this technique to sell a product but to promote a cause, and subsequently your brand, this is a very effective technique for the basic fact that gets people talking. It shows people that this cause is truly important to you while showing them a possibly new perspective by presenting them with reasons why this is a vital cause to support. It’s interactive making a change from people mindlessly just reading this from your website and that’s even if you can get them that far. A social experiment done well, accompanied by the right hashtag, can also spread like wildfire across social media and in today’s world, depending on your audience, this is a crucial tool to utilise.

I hope you have enjoyed my brief look into social experiments. As always, I would love to see your comments below and I’m always up for a discussion on any of my blog topics if you want to drop me a message via LinkedIn or Instagram. What do you think of this technique in helping to promote a cause?


Featured image courtesy of YouTube/Finansforbundet Norge.


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