This App Fixes The Wage Gap, One Meal At A Time

by Joseph D. Lyons

The United States is plagued by discrimination and systemic inequality that affects women and minorities in many areas of day-to-day life and — guess what — there's an app for that. No, it doesn't provide equal access to education or use social media to protect you from microaggressions, but it does let you split your dinner bill in a socially conscious way and Equal Pay Day is the perfect time to get started. The application is called EquiTable and it splits bills based on the wage gap. Believe in equal pay for equal work? Put your money where your fork is.

Women make just 79 cents to every man's dollar, but when you go out with your group of friends, everybody pays their "fare share." But is that really fair? This year April 12 marks Equal Pay Day, the day of the year when women's pay finally catches up to what men made in 2015. Your female friends have to work more to pay for everything, including eating out. For each and every Chipotle burrito — hold the guac, please — they have to work a bit more. The same is true for racial minorities, and minority women most of all. Add up a year's worth of meals out, and that's more than just chump change.

Here's where the app comes in. Instead of splitting the bill evenly or separating each item out separately (for the friend who ate your food but didn't technically order anything), you split the bill equitably. That is, you give the app some information about yourself, essentially your name, race, and gender. Then, input the same info about your friends, enter the total amount of the bill, and voila! It splits the amount according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data and math (as the app calls it, "affirmative fractions") and tells you how much your portion of the bill is.

Have a homogeneous friend group? Not to fear, you can still do your part to fix the wage gap. The bill is then split equally but a "Pay It Forward" surcharge, a donation that each diner makes in addition to paying their portion.

There's also a feature to shut up your obnoxious friend unaware of his privilege. He can protest the bill with excuses ranging from "This isn't an issue anymore" to "Pulled myself up by my bootstraps." Have him click his favorite excuse and the app spells out why your friend is wrong — you don't have to do anything. Just sit back and watch him read about wage inequality, unemployment statistics, and more.

The app started out as an idea in a comedy routine at Cultivated Wit's Comedy Hack Day 10, a comedy competition that invites comics to brainstorm funny tech. EquiTable founder and comedian Luna Malbroux presented the socially-conscious app and won. It's worth checking out her routine. As Malbroux says, the app allows for "reparations, one meal at a time!"

Just don't forget to tweet your benevolence: "I helped fix the wage gap with lobster bisque. Thanks, @EquiTableApp!"

Images: EquiTable