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Olivia Molitor

A data visualisation of articles pulled from the Guardian's API that are related to the gender pay gap.


In 2017 the UK government mandated that all companies with 250 employees or more had to publish their figures comparing men and women's average pay throughout the organisation. April was the deadline for the submission and in light of that I sought to look into it a bit more. The phrase "78 cents to a dollar" is a one that I'm quite familiar with. I remember hearing it from a young age, and I still have the same confusion and anger towards it today. I wanted to create a piece that spoke to some of that confusion and anger. There are many people who have said that the gender pay gap doesn't exist and that the playing field is completely level for everyone. I do think its important to note that whilst this is an important issue, this is just one aspect. It does not delve into the hiearchy of pay that effects women of all backgrounds and ethnicites. I have heard someone go as far as to say that it if it were to exist it would come down to personality traits such as agreeableness and proclivity to bear children. I read that a company is serious about eliminating the gender pay gap when they demonstrate they're serious about daycare. With that in mind, I went looking to the Guardian's API.


I initially set out to come up with a list of terms that would somehow illustrate demonstrably how we are divided. I didn't come up with sufficient enough terms. What could I really search that speaks to the individuals who make up half of the workforce and subsequently half of the earth? Instead my query was "gender pay gap" within the API. The Guardian's API has all of the articles that they've published since 1999- the New York Times has everything they've published since 1851. Considering the fact that they're only including articles from the turn of the 21st century; in those short 19 years 43,266 articles were published that reference or are written about the gender pay gap.


Creating a particle system was something I had been interested in doing and I think it fit my project both conceptually and literally. The particles are effected by a number of parameters such as speed, velocity, direction and location. It was essentially a flow field but I implemented the data from the API and called the titles of the articles written. They are herded into a stream. There are quite a few articles that are being pulled up every call, so it is challenging to read at times. I sought to have a balance between legibility and motion. I chose a black background and a white text because I wanted a stark difference. I also wanted it to be a bit overwhelming when viewed. It is a representation of what it feels like to read the news sometimes. It is a constant news stream.


A further iteration of this project would be to have multiple arrays that hold the API queries for each year. I think it would be a really interesting thing to see a visual comparison of the data. To also see if there are any trends in relation to how many articles were written and do they increase as time goes on or not. I was also not able to get to a print studio, and I would like to be able to create a series of prints from this project. I think screen printing the outputs and having them next to the projection would be intriguing. To have a moment of the newstream captured and to have the dynamic projection moving.


I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to implement the API into the particle system and unfortunately that took away from developing the extent that I initially wanted. I also spent wasted time trying to implement other APIs such as the twitter API. What I set out to make is really different to what I had in my head when I first thought of this project. I would like to work towards making the idea in my head more tanigble and diminish the disparity between my imagination and reality.


Jerome Herr's flow field - Daniel Shiffman's tutorials - Lewis Lipton's tutorials