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Amazon says it does pay men and women equally

Less than a week after regulators rejected Amazon's request that it not have to submit a gender pay resolution to a shareholder vote at its annual meeting in June, the online retailer has done an about-face.

On Wednesday, it released the results of compensation -- including both base and stock -- paid to employees in 2015, saying women earned 99.9 cents for every dollar that men earn in the same jobs. Minorities earned 100.1 cents for every dollar that white workers earned in the same job, the company said.

"There will naturally be slight fluctuations from year to year, but at Amazon (AMZN) we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable," Ty Rogers, a spokesman, said in an email.

The move was welcomed by Arjuna Capital, the activist arm of investment firm Baldwin Brothers, which had called on Amazon and eight other technology companies to report on the gap between male and female workers pay.

"This is what we were looking for. We're happy to see Amazon step up," said Natasha Lamb, Arjuna Capital's director of equity research and shareholder engagement. "A 'trust me that women are paid fairly' approach no longer works."

The issue is particularly pertinent in an industry where women hold just 11 percent of executive positions and only 10 percent of board seats, Lamb added.

Of the nine tech companies Arjuna Capital had asked for the gender pay breakdown, two acted on the issue on their own accord. Intel (INTC) in early February said it had achieved 100 percent gender equity on pay. This month, Apple touted reaching 99.6 percent equal pay.

Arjuna Capital decided to withdraw its proposal in light of Amazon's announcement. Noting that Amazon's defensive approach with the Securities and Exchange Commission "made it look like they had something to hide," Lamb added: "What is apparent from their announcement is they don't have anything to hide."

Amazon declined to elaborate further.

Six other tech companies have resolutions coming to shareholders in the months ahead, according to Arjuna Capital: eBay (EBAY), where a vote is scheduled for May; Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG) and Expedia (EXPE), where votes are set for June; Adobe (ADBE), where dialogue with Arjuna Capital is under way; and Microsoft (MSFT), where resolutions are being filed before a shareholder meeting in December.

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