State Street, firm behind 'Fearless Girl,' underpaid female workers

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It doesn't get more ironic than this.

It's a message that is important for major corporations to support, but it appears to be mere lip service for State Street, as news broke this Thursday that the firm was guilty of gender of discrimination itself-to the tune of almost $5 million in settlements with its 305 top female employees, who the firm has systematically paid less than men in same positions, as the U.S. Department of Labor alleges. Both parties alleged they were paid less than their white male counterparts.

State Street Corporation paid female executives less in base pay, bonus pay and total compensation than men in the same positions, investigators concluded following a U.S. Department of Labor probe.

The settlement comes only months after State Street received plaudits for sponsoring the Fearless Girl statue near Wall Street in Manhattan as part of its effort to get more women placed on the boards of public companies.

This includes an agreement that will have State Street Corp paying roughly $5 million to employees that were underpaid. State Street, which calls on other companies to increase gender diversity on their boards, has a leadership team that's 82 percent male and almost entirely white, and this past May voted to promote more men to its executive ranks.

"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 programmes are nondiscriminatory", the fund said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the company said Thursday that State Street disagrees with the analysis but opted to bring the six-year-old matter to a resolution and move forward. The government also alleges that the company paid some of its black executives less than white executives in the same role. In exchange, the Department of Labor will not institute judicial or administrative enforcement proceedings.

Some people were concerned that the Fearless Girl statue was a "marketing ploy" from the beginning. It immediately became a sensation, especially among young women.

The objective of the statue is to celebrate women in leadership as it was placed in the heart of the financial district - which has longtime been a male-dominated work culture. The statue, which was immediately embraced by advocates for women around the world, also promoted State Street's SHE Index focused on companies with higher proportions of women on its boards.

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