In Citi’s latest ad, a group of young girls are asked what they want to be when they grow up. After sharing their career aspirations, they’re then told that women generally get paid less than men—and their immediate reactions are captured in a series of striking photographs.
Now, there’s no way of knowing whether or not this was actually the first time each girl had heard of the gender pay gap, and there’s always the possibility that some of them were hamming it up for the camera. Regardless, their disheartened, angry and confused facial expressions serve as yet another reminder of the adverse impact that wage inequality has on women.
“Learning that women are paid less than men should shock you, but many of us adults are jaded by this reality,” Carla Hassan, Citi’s chief brand officer, said. “Children, however, have a fresh perspective. They are surprised this is even an issue. The campaign videos and photos are meant to serve as a reminder to never be complacent in the face of inequality, and to push for a faster rate of change.”
According to Citi, the video is running on Twitter and Instagram, and some of the photos are being featured on a billboard in New York City. Additionally, full-page print ads are running in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times on Oct. 13.
The push aligns with the International Day of the Girl, and is part of Citi’s overall effort to recruit and promote more women into senior roles at the company. Earlier this year, Citi revealed that its female employees earn 29% less than men.
Considering the gap reflects the fact that many of Citi’s executive and senior-level employees are men, the company has committed to increasing female representation at the assistant vice president through managing director levels at least 40% globally by the end of 2021.
Since making the pledge, Citi has made an effort to champion gender equality in its marketing. For instance, earlier this year, the company debuted an initiative called #SeeHerHearHer to include more female musicians, artists and technicians in its talent search for ad campaigns.
“Citi is a global institution with presence in nearly 100 countries. We recognize that we have the ability to help shape our industry and beyond through our actions,” Hassan said. “So we’re highlighting issues, such as the leadership and gender pay gap, in our marketing efforts to effect change and drive progress.”
Hassan said that the girls featured in its latest campaign are the daughters of Citi employees. In the coming weeks, another video will launch that shows both boys’ and girls’ reactions to the gender pay gap.
“We believe seeing it through the eyes of boys and girls will shine a brighter light on the issue and solution,” she said. “This is a challenge we need to tackle together, and this behavior and mindset starts with young boys and girls supporting and championing one another.”