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Hypocrisy? Bank that paid for ‘Fearless girl’ statue settles gender discrimination dispute

(AP Photo)

The bank that sponsored the famous ‘Fearless Girl’ statue on Wall Street opposite of the ‘Raging Bull’ is under fire for discriminating against hundreds of female executives for paying them less than their male colleagues.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the $2.6 trillion asset manager, State Street Corp., agreed to settle U.S. allegations of gender discrimination and will pay $5 million to more than 300 women. However, the Boston-based firm continues to deny such allegations.

Following an audit, the Labor Department discovered that women in senior leadership positions at State Street Corp. received lower base salaries, bonuses, and total compensation since December 2010.

State Street told Bloomberg BNA, “State Street is committed to equal pay practices and evaluates on an ongoing basis our internal processes to be sure our compensation, hiring and promotions programs are nondiscriminatory.”

According to Bloomberg, State Street had built up a reputation of calling out other companies for a lack of gender diversity, specifically urging companies to add more women to their boards. They also launched an SPDR Gender Diversity exchange-traded fund, which rewards firms with more gender diversity with more exposure.

The ‘Fearless Girl’ statue was installed in March of 2017, the day after International Women’s Day, to celebrate the first anniversary of the SPDR Gender Diversity index. The statue’s creator, Kristen Visbal, told the Gothamist that she was approached by both State Street and McCann New York “to spotlight the need for gender diversity at the leadership level.”

“We collaborated to conceive of this powerful symbol with universal appeal that is strong, yet not confrontational,” Visbal said. “[Fearless Girl] is a call to work together. She has put a spotlight on the fact that, though women comprise 49.5 percent of the global population and 50% of the work force, their representation at the leadership level is pitiful. The discrepancy in pay scale is particularly disappointing when you consider that the year 2020 will herald the hundredth anniversary of women’s right to vote, ample time for equal pay to have been instituted.”

The statue quickly went viral with both women and men around the world who strongly advocated for closing the gender wage gap. However, with this development, ‘Fearless Girl’ becomes just another symbol of self-righteous individuals and corporations who don’t practice what they preach.

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