It is reported that on average, American women make only 82.3 percent of what men take home – and this disparity is even wider among women of color. While this inequity has been decreasing over the years, projections show that it will take another 25 years to close. Today we review how one brand is tackling the gender pay-gap head-on through new advertising expectations of its partners.
Sports Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit, an edition that in recent years has been making progress for women’s empowerment, is marking the launch of its 58th year by creating the Pay with Change platform. This program mandates that any brand that wants to advertise in its issue must provide examples how they are tangibly expanding gender equality. After demonstrating this, each brand is verified as a Changemaker and is asked to create an ad that displays those endeavors. SI will also be investing a portion of proceeds from the anniversary issue towards the Sports Illustrated Gender Equity Fund – which will back a charity focused on women’s justice. MJ Day, editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, explains that “in a world where women’s bodies are under attack and their value continuously underestimated, we knew we needed to act in a bold, more responsible way. Pay with Change is not just a platform to us; it is our commitment to creating greater progress for women.”
In the past, we’ve reported on how brands are bringing attention to gaps women face, but this week’s example shows how to go beyond awareness to drive change with others. Companies are more than their own products and marketing and should leverage external relationships (like customers and suppliers) when working towards societal advancement. Women still encounter a plethora of disadvantages, and the private sector must evolve their strategies to hold each other accountable for the differences they want to make.