Fearless Girl: Firm behind statue celebrating 'power of women' to settle lawsuit over underpaid female executives

Fearless Girl: Firm behind statue celebrating 'power of women' to settle lawsuit over underpaid female executives

Fearless Girl: Firm behind statue celebrating 'power of women' to settle lawsuit over underpaid female executives

Updated 7 October 2017, 15:25 AEDT

The financial services firm behind Wall Street's Fearless Girl statue agrees to pay $5 million to settle allegations by 305 female executives and 15 black executives they were paid less than their white male counterparts.

The financial services firm behind Wall Street's Fearless Girl statue has agreed to pay $5 million to settle allegations by 305 female executives and 15 black executives that they were being paid less than their white male counterparts.

Although not forced to admit guilt, State Street Corporation agreed to pay $4.5 million in back pay and $500,000 in interest into a settlement fund, following a US Department of Labor probe.

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

The investigation also found black executives had been paid less than similarly situated white employees in the same positions.

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

The company said it was "committed to equal pay practices and evaluates on an ongoing basis our internal processes to be sure our compensation, hiring and promotions programs are non-discriminatory".

Statue widely embraced, but some questioned motives

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.

It was placed on a traffic island facing Wall Street's Charging Bull statue in March to mark International Women's Day.

The work was widely embraced by tourists and others as a symbol of female empowerment.

The statue was originally due to come down after three weeks.

But after at least two petitions, plenty of press attention and enthusiastic interest on social media, it was announced the Fearless Girl would hold her ground until at least the end of February 2018.

But some critics questioned the motives of State Street, which said the statue was intended "to celebrate the power of women in leadership and to urge greater gender diversity on corporate boards".

ABC/AP