March 23, 2016 Last Updated 5:35 pm

Amazon gives in on gender pay equity issue, shareholder resolution withdrawn

Some battles are just not worth having. So, today, Amazon reversed its position on gender pay equity, releasing a statement that said that a review of U.S. staff, including warehouse workers, found that women’s compensation in 2015 was 99.9% of men’s in equivalent jobs. Further, minorities make 100.1% of what white workers earn, Amazon said.

“There will naturally be slight fluctuations from year to year, but at Amazon we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable,” the Amazon statement said.

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected an attempt by Amazon to keep a resolution filed by Arjuna Capital and Baldwin Brothers Inc., and co-filed by Pax World Management regarding gender pay equity off the shareholder’s ballot.

“We are pleased Amazon is stepping up in response to investor concerns about gender pay equity,” Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement, at Arjuna Capital said. “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.”

The gender pay battle has concentrated on Silicon Valley, with Intel and Apple previously committing to the issue. Late last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple currently pays women 99.6 percent of what it pays men, and that it looks to close the remaining gap.

“In Silicon Valley only 11% of executive positions are held by women, and only 10 percent of board seats are held by women. That’s about half of what the Fortune 100 companies have,” Lamb said.

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