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Amazon Reverses Position on Pay Equity Fight, Shareholder Resolution to Be Withdrawn

Amazon logoAfter Initially Opposing Resolution at SEC and Losing Fight, Amazon Responds to Shareholder Pressure and Now Says It Is Addressing Gender Pay Gap

Online retailing giant Amazon.com is now the third major US tech company this year to commit to gender pay equity.  As a result, a shareholder resolution filed by Arjuna Capital and Baldwin Brothers Inc., and co-filed by Pax World Management, will be withdrawn.

The Amazon response to shareholder pressure follows earlier steps by Apple and Intel.  Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected an Amazon attempt to keep the resolution, off the ballot.  Today, Amazon announced that it is on track to achieve gender pay equity.

Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement, at Arjuna Capital applauded Intel and Apple’s leadership: “We are pleased Amazon is stepping up in response to investor concerns about gender pay equity.  Given Amazon’s disclosure, we will withdraw our shareholder proposal, asking the company to report on its policies and goals to close the gender pay gap, which would otherwise go to a vote of shareholders at the annual meeting in June.  

What we know is that a ‘trust me, women are paid fairly’ approach is not enough, and a defensive approach to gender pay equity will not solve the problem.  At the current rate of change, the gender pay gap is not expected to close for another 40 years.  This is not only bad for society, it is bad for business.  Fostering gender diverse teams leads to more innovative better performing companies.  Companies can and should commit to closing the gender pay gap, as Amazon has done today. But it won’t happen without bold leadership.”

In addition to its work in encouraging the steps at Amazon, Intel and Apple, Arjuna Capital, a division of registered investment advisor Baldwin Brothers Inc., filed shareholder resolutions at six other technology companies asking them to commit to closing the gender pay gap.

Amazon, Intel and Apple have joined the ranks of very few US companies – including The Gap, Salesforce.com, and GoDaddy — that have been accountable and transparent in their commitment to gender pay equity.

On a national level, women, who are paid an average of 78 cents for every dollar men earn, will not reach pay parity until 2058. In the technology industry, which struggles to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, recruiting firm Dice reports men earned nearly $10,000 dollars more than women on average in 2014.