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Half of these 50 top companies got an ‘F’ in gender pay equity

Among the failing companies are massive employers like Walmart, Goldman Sachs, McDonald’s, Verizon, and MetLife.

Half of these 50 top companies got an ‘F’ in gender pay equity
[Photo: Charles Deluvio/Unsplash]

In case you missed it, yesterday was Equal Pay Day in the U.S.—a date that signals how far into the year the average woman must work to match the average man’s salary from the prior year. And in commemoration, impact investing firm Arjuna Capital released its 2020 “Gender Pay Scorecard,” an annual report grading companies on the steps they’ve taken to close the gender gap.

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And of the top 50 U.S. companies it surveyed, half scored an “F” rating.

Among the failing companies are massive employers like Walmart, Goldman Sachs, McDonald’s, Verizon, and MetLife. And while Arjuna’s findings are disappointing, they’re not altogether surprising.

Walmart, for example, made headlines last year when nearly 100 female workers filed gender discrimination lawsuits against the retailer, claiming they were denied equal pay and promotions. After the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that 178 claims spanning the past two decades were likely legitimate, Walmart dismissed them in the Wall Street Journal, calling the allegations “not representative of the positive experiences millions of women have had working at Walmart.”

Goldman Sachs also came under fire last year when a host of women suing the company in what Bloomberg called “one of the era’s biggest Wall Street gender-discrimination lawsuits” argued that the bank was trying to force 1,000 of the plaintiffs into arbitration. Goldman Sachs has been fending off the lawsuit, which represents 3,000 former and current employees, for 15 years now.

MetLife and Silicon Valley giant Oracle, which also flunked Arjuna’s test, both faced major gender discrimination lawsuits last year: A MetLife ex-chief administrative officer accused the insurance group of underpayment, and a class action lawsuit against Oracle alleged that female, Asian, and black employees were underpaid by $401 million over the course of four years.

Despite the groundswell for women’s rights in 2019, the Scorecard shows we still have a long way to go. The report notes that according to Glassdoor’s projections, society could reach pay parity by 2035; women currently earn 82 cents to every dollar men earn.

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By the way—also on the list of companies with “F”s is AT&T, which boasted in January about its third-straight nomination to Bloomberg‘s Gender Equality Index. The telecom company in recent years launched an aggressive ad campaign for gender parity and women’s empowerment, including a high-profile commercial celebrating female golfers at the 2019 Masters Tournament.

Just three companies scored “A”s: Starbucks, Mastercard, and Citigroup, which were praised for pay transparency and greater pay equity along gender and racial lines. Starbucks paid women 98.3% of what it paid men globally, Mastercard paid 92.2%, and Citigroup paid 73%.

Check out the full list of companies and scores here.

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