BOSTON, Feb. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — EBay’s Board has committed to publicly oppose a shareholder proposal filed by Arjuna Capital, the sustainable wealth platform of Baldwin Brothers Inc., requesting eBay publicly report the pay disparity between male and female employees and set goals to close the gap.
This is the first year the issue of gender wage equality has been put to the proxy ballot of a U.S. corporation and the company’s opposition comes in the face of public outcry and regulatory efforts. At Sunday night’s Academy Awards, Patricia Arquette called for wage equality during her victory speech. President Obama also highlighted the issue during the State of the Union address stating, “Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”
Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement, Arjuna Capital was surprised by the Board’s opposition: “The eBay proposal is clearly in the interest of enhancing shareholder value. Gender diversity is a key driver of innovation and performance, factors of particular importance to the tech industry.”
The Boston Globe reports women’s salary expectations are 30% less than that of their male counterparts and that the average salary request from men in the tech industry is $124,000 compared to $114,000 from women. ANovember 2014 New Yorker article reports high rates of attrition among women in technology occupations. In 2008, the Harvard Business Review reported a study indicating 56% of the mid-career women working in tech ended up leaving the field.
Women are also under-represented in executive positions. At eBay, approximately 42% of the Company’s employees are women, but women only account for 28% of the firm’s leadership.
“A structural shift is needed to empower women to succeed in the workplace. Gender pay equality is not only one of the biggest social justice issues of our time, but clearly a business issue whose time has come,”said Lamb. “We want to invest in companies committed to the innovation and success diversity fosters.”
Mckinsey & Company has found companies with highly diverse executive teams had higher returns on equity and earnings performance than those with low diversity and a May 2014 study found gender diverse teams were better at driving “radical innovation.”
The National Center for Women and Information Technology reports key benefits of gender diversity include: better financial performance, superior team dynamics and productivity, teams that stay on schedule and under budget, and improved employee performance.
Regulatory and litigation risk also exists related to pay parity. The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 is pending before Congress to improve company-level transparency and strengthen penalties for equal-pay violations.
The full text of the Arjuna Capital shareholder with eBay is available online at: http://bit.ly/1GxuEVz.
Arjuna Capital is the sustainable wealth management platform of Baldwin Brothers Inc., an SEC-registered independent financial advisory firm established in 1974. For more information visit www.arjuna-capital.com.
SOURCE Arjuna Capital, Boston, MA