WASHINGTON – Seeking novel ways to eliminate the gender gap in pay, the U.S. Department of Labor and its federal agency partners on the National Equal Pay Task Force announced Wednesday a contest for creating software applications that use the department’s data to promote equal pay for men and women.
Women are still paid less on average than their male counterparts for doing comparable jobs, and the discrepancy is even greater for minority women. Over the course of a lifetime, this “pay gap” results in lost wages, reduced pensions and diminished Social Security benefits.
“Women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and play a vital role in the nation’s economy,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “While progress has been made in recent decades, the pay gap continues to disadvantage many women, with consequences not only for them, but for their families and the economy as a whole.”
The Equal Pay App Challenge calls on developers to use publicly available data and resources to create innovative, easy-to-use apps that educate users about the pay gap and provide tools to combat it. The apps should improve the accessibility of pay data broken down by gender, race and ethnicity, and provide coaching on early career pay, pay negotiation or career mentorship.
“Today’s employers and employees are more resourceful and technologically savvy than ever before, but too many remain unaware of how the pay gap affects them,” said White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. “By encouraging developers to help us solve this problem, we’re leveraging the unique ability of the federal government to provide mountains of valuable data as well as the innovation power of the private sector.”
Applications that best satisfy the criteria for the challenge will be eligible to receive one of eight prizes, including scholarships to attend an eight-week immersive program on digital product innovation and entrepreneurship hosted by General Assembly, a campus for technology, design and entrepreneurship. The challenge will be open for submissions from Jan. 31 until March 31. Judges will announce the winners in connection with Equal Pay Day in April.
To help facilitate this and similar challenges, the Labor Department last year launched a website that helps software developers incorporate department data into online and mobile applications through published application program interfaces and software development kits. The website and contests are part of the Department of Labor’s ongoing efforts to increase transparency, participation and collaboration through the administration’s Open Government Initiative.
For more information, click on DOL.Gov/Open For More Information