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On Twitter, #talkpay highlights uneven wages in the tech industry

A little transparency goes a long way.


Selena Larson


Posted on May 1, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 10:38 pm CDT

It’s an oft-discussed topic in general terms, but rarely do we see people talking specifically about how much money they make. On May 1, International Worker’s Day, people are sharing their salaries to Twitter with the hashtag #TalkPay in an effort to highlight pay inequality and encourage salary transparency.

#TalkPay began as an effort from computer programmer Lauren Voswinkel. In an article for Model View Culture, Voswinkel wrote, “The lack of knowledge regarding reasonable salaries and predatory behaviors in tech companies can be directly attributed to the social taboo surrounding people talking openly about their salaries.”

Pay inequality is not just a problem in technology, but in industries everywhere. Women earn 78 cents per dollar white men earn, and for women of color that discrepancy is even worse—Hispanic and Latina women earn 54% of what white men are paid, and African American women earn 64%, according to data from the American Association for University Women.

Following Voswinkel’s lead, tech workers began tweeting their salaries, including historical pay data from jobs and companies going back years. It’s an illuminating look at the differences between gender, race, and career history.

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Though the conversation centered around tech, people from other industries began sharing their salaries, too.

Hundreds of people are contributing to the #TalkPay hashtag on Twitter. And while some of the tweets contain salary data, others describe what makes it difficult to talk about in the first place.

Voswinkel says that in order to eliminate bias and pay inequality, people must have open and profound discussions about it, not only within companies, but publicly, too. Friday’s #talkpay discussion is one way to begin that conversation—and hopefully, begin to change things for the better. 

Photo via U.S Embassy Tel Aviv/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: May 1, 2015, 6:04 pm CDT