Do businesses who virtue signal the loudest have the most to hide?

When I was a high school student I had a fun friendship with the naughtiest boy in class. He was always getting in trouble both in and out of school. He enjoyed sparring with me verbally and his favourite pastime was to try to embarrass me with sex talk.

We had known each other since primary school as I had moved to his Catholic school in standard three. One time after I had called his bluff in high school maths class when he offered to show me how big his penis was ( I called loudly at that point for a magnifying class to everyone’s amusement) he then decided to brag about his sex life. I leaned in and told him that my Dad had told me that guys who talk about it all the time are the ones who aren’t actually doing it. At that point, he leaned in with a huge grin on his face and said “then you must be really great at it!” to everyone else’s amusement.

Anyway, the point of my story is that sometimes those who make the biggest show and dance about something are actually hiding their inadequacies.

Fearless Girl by State Street Global Advisors and McCann New York dominated ad award shows this year. Getty Images

The financial firm that was behind the iconic  ‘Fearless Girl’ statue has been told to pay five million dollars for allegedly underpaying both women and minorities.

Fearless Girl is meant to “send a message” about workplace gender diversity and encourage companies to recruit women to their boards.The plaque below the statue states, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference,”


It appears she allegedly makes a difference in this case because she saves the company money.

State Street Corp., parent company of the investment firm behind Wall Street’s iconic Fearless Girl statue, today agreed to pay a combined $5 million to more than 300 women and 15 black employees who were paid less than their white, male counterparts, according to a federal audit. […]

The audit concluded that, since “at least December 1, 2010,” the company had discriminated against women in senior-level roles like vp, svp and managing director by paying them lower base salaries, bonuses and total compensation than their male colleagues. The OFCCP’s analysis also found that State Street did the same to 15 black employees at the vice president level.

State Street officially denies the claims […]

“State Street 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,” said a State Street spokesperson in a statement today. “While we disagreed with the OFCCP’s analysis and findings, we have cooperated fully with them, and made a decision to bring this six-year-old matter to resolution and move forward.”

[…] State Street’s large payout over allegations of gender and racial pay imbalance comes at an especially awkward time for its subsidiary State Street Global Advisors, whose Fearless Girl campaign has dominated advertising awards shows since debuting in March of this year.

The Fearless Girl statue […] quickly became the financial world’s most iconic symbol of gender equality and won 18 honors at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, including four Grand Prix top honors.

But the client has been candid in acknowledging that Fearless Girl, or any marketing effort that celebrates a commitment to diversity, can be vulnerable to criticisms from those who feel the campaign’s creator hasn’t made enough progress.

[…] Stephen Tisdalle discussed the inherent risks of Fearless Girl.

He told the audience: “Do we as an organization reflect the penultimate makeup and reflection in being a diverse organization? No. And that was a risk because a lot of the people felt the message might be diluted by a lot of cynical people saying, ‘Well who are you to talk about gender diversity when you’re not a perfect embodiment of it?’”

He continued: “What I would say to that is we had a foundation we could go back to to say why we did Fearless Girl, and no matter what anybody said, no matter what rocks were thrown, we could say, ‘You’re right, but this is the way we invest, this is the way the world needs to invest, this is a human moral value. How can you argue against it? We have to be doing better ourselves. She’s as much an inspiration to our organization as she is to the world.”

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If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

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