Arjuna: Microsoft Is Fifth Tech Giant This Year To Respond To Shareholder Push For Gender Pay Equity

BOSTON, April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On the eve of Equal Pay Day, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is now the fifth major U.S. tech company this year to respond to shareholder calls for action on closing the gender pay equity gap.  At the conclusion of a successful shareholder dialogue, Arjuna Capital, a division of Baldwin Brothers Inc., a registered investment advisor, withdrew their shareholder resolution that otherwise would have put the matter to a vote of Microsoft shareholders in December.

Available at http://arjuna-capital.com/sites/default/files/MSFT%20Withdrawal%20Letter%204.11.16.pdf, the Arjuna Capital withdrawal letter states: “… Microsoft has committed to disclose through a blog on its corporate website on April 11th, 2016 and in November 2016 in the company diversity report, a commitment to gender pay equity and details of its salary equity by gender and by U.S. minorities …’

Arjuna Capital and Baldwin Brothers filed resolutions this shareholder season at nine technology companies asking them to commit to closing the gender pay equity gap. Already this year, Arjuna Capital has announced success in its shareholder engagements at Expedia (March 24th), Amazon (March 23rd), Intel (February 3rd) and Apple (March 2nd), all of which reported the gender pay gap is closed, near closed, or will be closed shortly.

The Microsoft action is particularly noteworthy in the context of the October 2014 comments made by CEO Satya Nadella.  He said:  “It’s not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along … And that I think might be one of the additional super powers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma.” He later apologized for those comments.

Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement, at Arjuna Capital said: “With Microsoft, we have now seen more than half of the companies we have engaged in our gender pay equity campaign respond proactively. Microsoft deserves credit for taking this important step further distancing itself from the 2014 comments of its CEO, when he suggested it’s bad karma for women to ask for a raise and that they should have faith in the “system.”  We are now down to only a handful of tech giants, including Facebook, that have been slow to be transparent and in their commitment to equal pay.”

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 more than women on average in 2014.

For more about Equal Pay Day on April 12 go to http://www.pay-equity.org/day.html.

SOURCE Arjuna Capital, Boston

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