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Taking a Stand

State Street

October 12,2017

The Fearless Girl that stares down Wall Street has come to embody something far greater than anyone could have anticipated. We’re proud of the role she has played in sparking the conversation around women in leadership.

But taking such a public stand for greater stewardship and gender diversity means opening ourselves up to both applause and criticism. It rightly means our words are measured against our actions, evaluating if we really are walking the walk. So when our conciliation agreement with the OFCCP was finalized earlier this month, it’s understandable that there were raised eyebrows.

We fully cooperated with the 2012 Boston audit that was the focus of the agreement, but disagreed with the conclusions that we believe did not adequately account for legitimate differences in individual job functions and responsibilities. After six years, we chose to move forward. We unequivocally support equal pay for equal work, and while we disagree with the audit findings, we feel that it’s more important to focus our resources on initiatives that drive systematic and sustainable change, not litigation.

Like any of the people and companies doing their part to shatter the glass ceiling, we know the only way to push for change is to have the hard conversations, accept feedback and continually improve. It’s impossible to be an effective advocate for change without owning shortcomings. Long before Fearless Girl arrived, we’ve been working to address our own diversity and push for more women in leadership. And we’re achieving tangible results. We’ve gained considerable ground using our voice and vote as a shareholder to push the companies we invest in on behalf of our clients to increase gender diversity on their boards. During this past proxy voting season, we voted against the boards of directors of 400 companies that currently have no women on their boards. But, more importantly, an additional 42 companies – that we did not vote against – pledged to take concrete action to add women to their boards. 

We unequivocally support equal pay for equal work.

As an organization, we’ve focused on increasing the representation of women and employees of color in more senior and higher paying roles, a strategy we think meaningfully attacks the wage gap. We make our executive leaders accountable for creating a diverse workforce where women and minorities succeed, and this includes a requirement to consider diverse candidate slates for senior roles.

In 2013, we became one of the first companies to publicly commit to ending wage disparity when we helped launch and pledged our support for the Boston Women’s Workforce Council’s 100% Talent Compact. And perhaps most promising is the work we’re doing to build our pipeline and promote talent. We support this pipeline through a number of employee affinity networks and mentorship groups, such as the Black Professionals Group and Professional Women’s Network, that are aimed at attracting and engaging diverse talent and helping them succeed at State Street.

Fearless Girl was never meant to be a statement of accomplishment. Her purpose is aspirational and inspirational for us and all others. A glass ceiling only shatters with continual pressure. Until the day that all are truly equal in the workforce, we will continue to play our part.


Topics: Diversity

State Street

We are a leading financial services provider serving some of the world’s most sophisticated institutions.