On March 15, athleisure giant Lululemon announced it will temporarily shutter all of its retail spaces in North America and Europe to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The company has, however, pledged to compensate its employees during the closure and provide support for workers who are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
It’s not the first time Lululemon has made headlines for fair practices. Earlier this month, the company unveiled its gender equity stats, which boasts 100 per cent pay equity across 20,000 employees.
“At Lululemon, we’re proud to be an organization that lives and breathes our values,” reads an excerpt.
“We believe that our people have the right to equal standards and stand for gender pay equity: equal pay for equal work. In 2018, we stood behind this commitment and, each year since then, achieved gender pay equity across every employee in our stores and support centres globally.”
The company says it will readdress hiring and reward incentives annually to maintain the standard.
Currently, women account for:
- 78 per cent of Lululemon’s total staff;
- 60 per cent of senior leadership;
- 57 per cent of VP roles or higher; and
- 50 per cent of the board of directors.
The company has 479 stores in 15 countries and 9 support centres.
Not all races, genders treated equally
A recent PayScale survey of 1.6 million employees from various organizations finds the gender pay gap is decreasing overall but says a “significant” disparity remains between the way women and men are compensated.
The gap is more pronounced for women of colour.
“While only 3 per cent of all White women make it to the executive level of an organization (compared to 6 per cent of White men), only 2 per cent of Asian, Black, and Hispanic women make it to the C-suite,” reads an excerpt from the report.
Women of colour who climb to the highest levels of management continue to earn less than their male colleagues, taking home about $0.63 for every dollar a White male executive makes.
“Even when we control for compensable factors, Black women who are executives get paid $0.95 for every dollar a White man with the same qualifications does,” the report reads.
PayScale attributes the pay gap to societal pressures placed on women as well as inherent bias, which can “seep into performance reviews” and “disproportionately affect people of colour.”
While all races were equally likely to ask for a raise, women of colour were 19 per cent less likely to receive one when compared to a White man.
Men of colour were 25 per cent less likely to receive a raise in comparison to a white man.
Promoting women pays off
Research suggests that promoting women isn’t just good from a moral standpoint. A September 2019 survey of 1.7 million employees from 32 companies suggests organizations that promote gender diversity are rated as more effective.