That Equal Pay Day in the U.S. fell on Wednesday, March 24, this year is not random. It is a specific date calculated to reflect the fact it would have taken a period of nearly three months for the average woman to earn the same amount of money the average man made in a year. Because women of color are disproportionately affected by pay inequities, Equal Pay Day for Black women isn’t until August 3; for Native American women it’s September 8; and for Latina women it’s October 21.
Pay equity mattered a lot to the public before the pandemic, and it matters even more now. American women lost one million more jobs than American men did – this report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco identified mothers leaving the workforce to care for children at home during school shutdowns as a major culprit – and find themselves playing catch up yet again.
To reverse the trend and create a more inclusive recovery, we took a closer look at our universe of roughly 1,000 of America’s largest public companies to see which were best for women across five key indicators of performance: board composition, paid parental leave, pay gap analysis, backup dependent care, and paid time off.
The standout companies were Bank of America, Etsy, General Mills, HPE, and Starbucks, and you can watch a segment produced for CNBC’s The News With Shepard Smith built from our data, and explore the policies in a complementary article on our site.
Interestingly, Bank of America recently published its own comprehensive study on pay gaps across corporations, and estimated that closing the gender pay gap in the U.S. would generate $600 billion in labor compensation, or around 3% of annual GDP.
JUST’s data shows that many of the companies that have disclosed their gender pay analysis have already or nearly achieved pay equity (and these companies often have notable benefits for mothers). In other words, disclosure matters. The problem, as we’ve found, is that only a fifth of America’s largest companies have disclosed that they’ve done a pay equity analysis – and just over half of those share the results. As CNBC’s Rahel Solomon said in her segment, “It’s hard to know the scope of the issue or to really make progress without full transparency.”
When it comes to corporate stakeholder performance, sunlight really is the best disinfectant.
This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism
Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America are asking their shareholders to reject calls to audit and publish racial equity reports put forth by CtW and SEIU, saying they are aligned with its goals but not the specific approach
Etsy aims to achieve net-zero emissions in all aspects of its business by 2030.
GM becomes the only automaker with a board of directors that has a majority of women with the addition of Meg Whitman.
Levi’s CEO writes an op-ed for CNN, saying that it is “inexcusable” for policymakers and business leaders not to mandate paid sick leave for their workers. Levi’s is one of 200 companies urging Congress this week to pass paid family leave.
Mastercard links compensation for its senior executives to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, around three specific priorities: carbon neutrality, financial inclusion, and gender pay parity.
Microsoft starts to bring workers back into its offices next week, offering 57,000 nonessential employees the choice to work from the office, home, or a combination of both.
Starbucks’ shareholders, in a rare move, voted against a pay raise proposal for the CEO. .
Thursday, April 1 at 1:00 p.m. ET: Join our latest Quarterly JUST Call with Nicholas K. Akins, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of American Electric Power (AEP).
We’re at a pivotal moment in our country for transforming our energy generation and consumption, and that’s why we’re excited to be talking with Akins. He leads not only the largest electricity transmission system in the US, but the top ranked utilities company in our list of America’s Most JUST Companies, and top in its industry for workers. We’ll discuss all of this and more alongside Nandika Madgavkar, Head of CECP’s CEO Investor Forum. Sign up to watch here.
What’s Happening at JUST
Triple Pundit’s Brands Taking Stands and CMC Market’s Opto featured our latest intersectional data analysis on race, gender, and ethnicity demographic disclosure. Our own Catalina Caro explains why EEO-1 disclosure is one of the few tools we have for making sure companies stay accountable to their racial equity commitments.
The Weekend edition of DealBook crafted a compelling case for why companies should rethink wages, especially for low-wage workers, showcasing our Worker Financial Wellness Initiativepartners, PayPal and Zeynep Ton of the Good Jobs Institute.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
“Despite all of the wins, I am still paid less than men who do the same job that I do. For each trophy – of which there are many – for each win, each tie and for each time that we play, it’s less.”
- Megan Rapinoe, Olympic Gold Medalist and Two Time World Cup Winner, on the pay disparity between the U.S. mens and womens soccer teams
“What I look at is, ‘How do I create great jobs and great careers?’ The starting wage is one thing, but is very different in California than it is in Alabama, so having one amount across the nation can cause a little bit of a disparity. So really what I’ve been trying to focus on is how do we design the job so it’s something that people want to do? How do you make people feel a sense of team, so they feel known and valued?”
- Kathryn McLay, Sam’s Club CEO, on how she thinks about designing good jobs at the company
“We run our diversity, equity, and inclusion business like any other business function. We set goals, we have metrics, we look at the data, we hold ourselves accountable.”
- Kiera Fernandez, Senior Vice President of Human Resources & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Target, on how the company approaches DEI
Must-Reads of the Week
Insider delves into the emerging trend of tying executive comp to diversity and ESG goals, looking at commitments from Microsoft, Starbucks, Uber, Chipotle, Facebook, Intel, and, most closely, Verizon.
In a series of charts, Bloomberg unpacks the latest household wealth study from the Fed showcasing how the richest 1% of households captured about 35% of the extra wealth generated nationwide, while the poorest half of the population received about 4% of gains.
The Wall Street Journal pushes back on the narrative of growing income inequality, arguing that its supposed rise is the result of the Census Bureau’s failure to account for taxes and welfare.
MSCI publishes a new report tracking CEO pay alongside company earnings, revealing that many times, CEOs who receive the highest compensation are not actually those who are dramatically outperforming their KPIs or competitors.
Bloomberg reports that the richest 1% of Americans, on average, hide 25% of their wealth from the IRS.
Chart of the Week
This chart comes from our Equal Pay Day analysis, and shows a concerning trend that the majority of companies that disclose their gender pay equity analyses tend to be at or near pay parity. To make progress on this critical issue, more companies need to be brave and transparent with their data, even if they don’t yet have a great story to tell.