It’s the 21st century and, for most women, equal pay is still a tenuous concept. On average, women make only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. And to add insult to injury, their salaries often cap off sooner than their male colleagues and they tend to have a longer life expectancy (the U.S. average is 81.2 years for women compared to 76.4 years for men). So, what would the world’s billionaires look like if they were women? What would they earn? How would their wealth compare to their male counterparts’? With a new campaign titled “Equal Pay Billionaires,” Forbes Brazil attempted to answer this question by taking three of the most recognizable faces from its famous list of the world’s billionaires and giving them a full, chromosomal makeover.
Created by Oglivy Brazil, the first billionaire to be get in touch with his feminine side is Bill Gates, or “Billie” as he becomes. As a woman, Gates, who currently holds the No. 1 spot on the Forbes list, would earn 21 percent percent less overall and drop from the No. 1 to the No. 4 spot. Mark Zuckerberg, reimagined as “Marcia,” would fall a whopping seven spots from No. 5 to No. 11, and finally Carlos Slim or “Carla”, the Mexican billionaire, would earn on average 17 percent less as a woman — and slide from the No. 6 spot down to No. 10.
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While the feminized Photoshopped faces of these billionaires makes for an eerie visual statement, critics have been quick to point out that the exercise is still not indicative of the equal pay disparity. Gender-bending aside, the point is that even though they may have dropped down, the female counterparts are still on the list. Of course, there are women who fall within the upper ranks on the Forbes, but it has been pointed out that many of those who do can thank their inheritances for boosting their rankings on the billionaire ladder. Although this does not diminish their worth, it is interesting to note that a fair portion of the female billionaires listed cannot be described as “self-made,” terminology that is liberally applied to men who make the list.
Critiques aside, it cannot be denied that the campaign is thought provoking. By changing only their gender, the vast fortunes of the world’s wealthiest billionaires are drastically altered. They may still be rich, but their gender makes them lesser.
Talk about putting a name to a face on the issue of equal pay.
Read the full story at Adweek.