This Romanian Bakery Put Gender Inequality Stats On Its Cakes

Eating the Salary Gap Cake won’t fix the problem, but it does make the discussion sweeter.

Sometimes the best way to deliver bad news is while eating something delicious. It’s why people go to nice restaurants to break up. Well, that or the public place lowers the odds of a total freakout and/or punch in the face. Either way, French bakery chain Paul is now using its popular line of cakes to let Romanian customers know some pretty grim gender inequality statistics.


“Bittersweet Pies” turns cakes into statistical pie charts. Why not pie pie charts? Probably because it’s easier to use icing on a cake than an actual pie. But that doesn’t matter. The agency behind the idea, MRM/McCann Romania, claims it’s the first-ever “social desserts” line in the world, and 5% of revenue from all “Bittersweet Pies” sold would be donated to the Filia Foundation, to go toward diversity projects.

“According to the World Economic Forum 2015 Global Gender Gap Report, Romania was rated No. 114 out of 145 countries in political equality, and scored low also on health and financial inequality,” said MRM/McCann Romania CEO and chief creative officer Nir Refuah, in a statement. “The Bittersweet project takes a mission to spread the data, create awareness, and spark conversation in every household in Romania about the importance of closing this gap.”

The cake line includes the Salary Gap Cake, the Misrepresentation Cake (in politics), the Extremely Rich Cake, the Startup Exclusion Cake, and the Glass Ceiling Double Cake (illustrating inequality in senior management positions compared to mid-management positions).

Refuah tells Co.Create the idea came from seeing the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. “When we were reading the gender gap report, it was surprising, as many Romanians think the gender gap does not exist in Romania, due to high participation of women in the workforce,” says Refuah. “We were looking for a way to make people talk about inequality, in a disruptive yet positive way, and the round shape of Paul’s cakes solved the brief.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.