France Offers Women an App for Pay Gap

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Equal Pay Day, the date in the calendar year on which women's earnings catch up with those of men in the previous year, arrives in the United States and France this week. The campaign to narrow the pay gap between men and women has attracted the attention of politicians in both countries, but the initiatives to get closer to pay parity could not be more different.

While President Obama is expected to launch two executive orders Tuesday to fight gender pay inequality, France, where Equal Pay Day arrives a day earlier, is banking on a new app.

The "Leadership pour elles" app is aimed at boosting women's confidence in the workplace.

"It's on confidence that we must act", Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the newly appointed minister for women's rights, city, youth and sports, told Le Parisien newspaper on Monday.

The app will offer all women the "tools that were until now the prerogative of senior executives belonging to networks from the Grandes Ecoles," the minister added, referring to France's elite universities.

She described the app as "coaching for all women."

Men are nine times more likely to ask for a raise than women. Self-confidence can explain up to 4.5 percentage points of the 25 percentage point wage gap between men and women, the French government says.

Women who download the app will first have to fill in a quick questionnaire, in which they'll be asked, among other things, what their reaction to a male colleague's derogatory comments in a meeting would be in order to gauge their self-confidence.

Depending on their answers, they will be presented with advice and videos on sexism, wage negotiation, how to succeed in an interview or in managing a team.

The app also includes a wage calculator so that women can measure whether the gap between their salary and the pay of male colleagues is within the national average. By comparing themselves to men, the minister said, women will be able to "realize their value."

-Alice Tidey,