The Astounding Case of the Unequal Equals

[ by Charles Cameron — how two ideas beget a third ]

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I’m a Brit, so the motto Mind the Gap is familiar to me — it warns people not to step between platform and train when entering or exiting the Tube

underground_2504657b mind the gap

— as is the London Underground symbol — and for that matter, the glyph for female, earlier the alchemical symbol of Venus.

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Today’s Telegraph contains a graphic that interests me a whole lot, under the title Equal Pay Day: 14 ways to visualise the gender pay gap:

telegraph mind the gap

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Does it interest me because I’m a fan of the London Underground? Not exactly. The Underground’s graphics, then? I’ll admit to an admiration for the Underground’s justifiably celebrated map

tube68

— which I’ve long thought would make a superb extended HipBone Game board, shown above in its 1968 incarnation. But that’s not it either. And although I don’t think gender should influence the pay a person receives for a given quantity or quality of work — Quant and Qualit again, one of the weirdst paradoxes my min d has ever encountered — it’s not the politics of the sign that interests and delights me.

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It’s the way two disparate elements — tube and gender graphics — are combined to create a remarkably powerful third:

SPEC DQ mind the gap

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