This proxy season, the investor Arjuna Capital targeted a handful of tech companies with a resolution: Commit to preparing a report by later this year about your policies and goals for reducing the gender pay gap.
After five of them — Intel, Apple, Amazon, Expedia and Microsoft — said their pay gap was closed or made commitments to doing so, Arjuna withdrew the proposal. But results of the first of these measures to actually go to a vote are in, and the tallies were surprising.
At Wednesday’s annual meeting at eBay, nearly 45 percent of the votes cast by shareholders were in favor of the gender pay gap measure, which was co-filed with Pax World Investments. In a statement, eBay CEO Devin Wenig said that before receiving the proposal, eBay had begun conducting an analysis of pay equity that’s still underway, and expects to complete the review by October, promising to share it publicly. “Importantly, if we find that we have an issue, we will fix it,” he said. “I believe companies and their leadership must address gender pay equity issues intentionally and proactively.”
Since that tally includes abstention votes, it’s not quite a majority. But the figure is still unpredictably high for a social issue on a company proxy, which typically don’t see big votes in their favor.
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