Boston-based asset management firm State Street Corp. orchestrated a memorable publicity stunt earlier this year by installing the "Fearless Girl" statue on Wall Street to mark "the power of women in leadership." But on Wednesday, the company settled a gender discrimination lawsuit by agreeing to $5 million to more than 300 women.
Per Bloomberg's report:
The custody bank will pay $5 million to more than 300 women, following a U.S. Department of Labor audit that uncovered the alleged discrepancies, according to a settlement agreement disclosed Wednesday.
The Labor Department alleged that women in senior leadership positions at Boston-based State Street received lower base salaries, bonus pay and total compensation since at least December 2010. The company said it has cooperated fully with the agency and that it disagreed with the findings of the audit, which was done in 2012.
According to NPR, "The Department of Labor investigation found 'statistically significant' differences in the pay given women and men in leadership roles at the firm, as well as between the compensation of black and white employees. The differences persisted when the investigators accounted for 'legitimate factors,' the Department of Labor says."
The statue, as you may remember, was installed directly in the path of Wall Street's famed "Charging Bull" statue ahead of International Women's Day in March. In a statement announcing the gesture, State Street said it was "calling on more than 3,500 companies that SSGA invests on behalf of clients, representing more than $30 trillion in market capitalization to take intentional steps to increase the number of women on their corporate boards."
The stunt always felt like vapid opportunism, and this certainly does nothing to dispel that.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.