Actions speak louder than words – and statues.
Installed back in March, State Street Global Advisors commissioned the creation of Wall Street’s Fearless Girl statue, which depics a Latina girl facing the Wall Street Bull. A plaque is displayed in front of the statue, which reads “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.” The “SHE” also references an ETF that the firm offers which passively invests in companies in the S&P 500 that rank favorably on a number of gender diversity ratios.
While presented as a feminist statement, it benefited State Street’s bottom line in the form of an estimated $7.4 million in free advertising (according to a study as of April!). But after the latest publicity the firm is getting, it looks like that could reverse a bit…
According to MarketWatch, State Street Corp. has agreed to pay $5 million to settle allegations it discriminated against hundreds of female employees.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the Boston-based company, which manages about $2.5 trillion, paid more than 300 women in top leadership roles less that it paid men in comparable positions. The women received less base salary, bonus pay and total compensation, going back to at least 2010, the government said. The Labor Department also said some black employees were paid less than comparable white employees.
State Street denied the allegations, according to a Labor Department filing, but will provide back pay, with interest.
Bloomberg News first reported the settlement, and noted State Street has been a vocal advocate of companies adding women to their boards, although it has repeatedly voted against gender-pay-related shareholder proposals.
The statue is scheduled to be removed in February of next year.