It’s 2016. Women account for 55 percent of the undergraduate student population, nearly 51 percent of the workforce, and are still making around 79 percent of what their male counterparts’ earn. Gender equality, particularly when it comes to pay parity, has been an ongoing struggle in the U.S., and now, companies in one key sector have signed on to tackle this issue head on.
Late last week, 29 more companies joined the White House’s Equal Pay Pledge, promising to do their part to close the gender pay gap. Among these companies were big names like Apple, Facebook, Dropbox, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, MailChimp, and Microsoft.
These companies join the first 28 companies that signed the pledge back in June when President Obama first launched the initiative — included in the first round were other tech heavy hitters, like Airbnb, Amazon, Cisco, Jet.com, Pinterest, and Spotify.
As part of the pledge, participating companies have agreed to conduct an annual company-wide gender pay analysis, review hiring and promotion processes to reduce unconscious bias and barriers, include equal pay efforts into other equity initiatives, and identify and promote best practices to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.
And given that the tech sector still suffers from a distinct lack of women in its workforce (despite a number of internal initiatives to boost these numbers), this pledge comes at quite a strategic time.
“Equal work deserves equal pay,” Apple said in a statement alongside its pledge. “This past year, Apple looked at the total compensation for U.S. employees and closed the gaps we found.”
Facebook echoed these sentiments in a statement of its own, noting, “At Facebook we value those who bring varying perspectives, for many reasons including background, community, culture, race, ethnicity — and gender. We call this cognitive diversity, and we want more of it. It propels our mission: to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”