The Activist Firm Pressuring Big Banks to Narrow the Wage Gap

Each week this newsletter will feature women making a difference in industries that are traditionally male dominated. I'm especially interested in finance, as the investment gap is still SO HUGE. If you happen to know a woman doing something cool in terms of gender equity, send her our way!

This week we're featuring an activist investment firm that is working to close the wage gap in a surprising way. For the uninitiated, activist investing occurs when a company created to invest money on behalf of shareholders buys a large stake in a publicly traded company. This tends to be more than 5% of shares, but it depends on who you ask. Activist firms purchase large stakes in companies in hopes of making changes -- anything from nominating members to the board to forcing the company to sell itself. 

Arjuna Capital, the activist investment arm of Boston-based Baldwin Brothers, has been using its stakes in companies like Wells Fargo, CitiGroup and Bank of America to address the pay gap between men and women. This is a rarity in activist investing - firms are typically focused on making their targets more profitable. But then again, maybe it makes sense. After all, women make up 51% of the target audience for banks based in the U.S. If we use our ~power of the purse~ correctly, we can push these banks to disclose salaries of employees (which will most likely reveal a pay disparity). Arjuna is just a bit ahead of the game. 

- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #1