Firm behind 'Fearless Girl' statue OKs equal pay settlement

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BOSTON (AP) - The financial services firm behind Wall Street's "Fearless Girl" statue agreed to pay $5 million to settle federal allegations that it paid female executives less than their male counterparts.

The agreement followed a U.S. Department of Labor probe into Boston-based State Street Corporation.

Investigators said their analysis concluded that State Street had paid female executives less in base pay, bonus pay and total compensation than similarly situated males in the same positions.

A spokeswoman for the company said Thursday that State Street disagrees with the analysis but opted to bring the six-year-old matter to a resolution and move forward.

In a statement the company said it is "committed to equal pay practices and evaluates on an ongoing basis our internal processes to be sure our compensation, hiring and promotions programs are nondiscriminatory."

The agreement calls on State Street to pay $5 million into a fund for 305 female executives and 15 black executives, which the investigation also found had been paid less than similarly situated white employees in the same positions.

Artist Kristen Visbal's "Fearless Girl" statue of a girl with her hands on her hips was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, a division of State Street Corporation, and placed on a traffic island facing Wall Street's "Charging Bull" statue on March 7.

The work was embraced by tourists and others as a symbol of female empowerment, though some critics have questioned the motives of State Street, which has said the statue was intended "to celebrate the power of women in leadership and to urge greater gender diversity on corporate boards."

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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