Company Fined for Giving Lower Pay to Female Executives

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. settlement / ˈsɛt l mənt / (n) – payment given to resolve a problem or disagreement

    The case against the company was dropped after it paid a settlement of five million dollars.

  2. audit / ˈɔ dɪt / (n) – an examination of a company’s financial records

    The Finance Department conducts an audit every year.

  3. ironic / aɪˈrɒn ɪk / (adj) – strange or funny because something is opposite of what is expected

    It is quite ironic that a financially successful company is underpaying its employees.

  4. stand up against (someone or something) / stænd ʌp əˈgɛnst / (idiom) – to defend oneself against someone or something that is usually more powerful

    The new employees stood up against the bullying of older employees by reporting them to the management.

  5. polarized / ˈpoʊ ləˌraɪzd / (adj) – separated into two opposing groups

    My sister and I have polarized opinions about young corporate leaders. I think young leaders have fresh ideas, but she thinks their ideas are uneducated.


Read the text below.

Financial services company State Street Corp. was instructed to pay its high-level female employees $5 million in settlement after a 2012 audit.

The audit, conducted by the US Department of Labor, revealed that the company has been paying female executives less than its male leaders. Aside from the pay difference based on gender, the company was also accused of giving unequal compensation based on race. State Street denied the allegations, but it has agreed to pay the settlement.

Critics call the issue ironic because, on the eve of International Women’s Day 2017, State Street Corp. installed a statue called the Fearless Girl to celebrate female leaders. The statue was meant to advertise the company’s new initiative called SHE. Under this initiative, State Street Corp. invests in businesses that support female executives.

The Fearless Girl is a sculpture of a small child placed in front of Wall Street’s famous Charging Bull. With the position of the two statues, the girl looks like she is challenging or standing up against the bull.

The statue was meant to be taken down last April, but the city of New York decided to make the Fearless Girl part of its public art project. It will remain in Wall Street until its anniversary in 2018.

The public’s response to the statue was polarized. Some appreciated it and are even petitioning to keep it on Wall Street permanently. However, others criticized it and questioned why women empowerment is represented by a young girl instead of an adult female. The Charging Bull’s sculptor also said that he felt disrespected because he did not intend for his work to look like it might crush a child.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What do you think affected State Street employees should do after discovering the audit results? Discuss.
• Who should be responsible for monitoring equality in the workplace? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think that the Fearless Girl statue is a good symbol of women empowerment and leadership? Why or why not?
• Despite the criticism it faced, do you think the statue was a good advertisement for the company? Explain.