Amazon Pays Male and Female Employees Equally

May 12, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. regardless of / rɪˈgɑrd lɪs əv / (idiom) – without considering something
Example: Law enforcers must treat people equally regardless of socioeconomic status.

2. turn down / ˈtɜrn daʊn / (phrasal v.) – to reject something
Example: The local government turned down the people’s petition against the new policy.

3. relent / rɪˈlɛnt / (v.) – to agree to do a request or command that was previously opposed
Example: He initially refused to shop with his sister, but he relented later on.

4. fluctuation / ˌflʌk tʃuˈeɪ ʃən / (n.) – frequent changes in the level of something
Example: The prices of goods undergo fluctuation throughout the year.

5. equitable / ˈɛk wɪ tə bəl / (adj.) – fair and equal to all people
Example: Women have been striving for equitable treatment throughout history.


Read the text below.
Amazon says that it gives equal compensation to its employees regardless of their gender.

The Seattle-based company conducted the survey among its US staff. The survey revealed that in 2015, female employees earned 99.9% of what male employees of the same position earned.

Amazon released the survey results in response to a proposal by Arjuna Capital, an activist investment firm advocating equal compensation for men and women. Arjuna put forward a proposal asking Amazon to submit a report on the company’s policies and goals to reduce the gender pay gap by October 2016. The gender pay gap refers to the difference between what male and female employees in the same position earn.

Initially, Amazon requested the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow the company to disregard Arjuna’s proposal and withhold the survey results. However, the SEC turned down Amazon’s request, prompting the company to relent to Arjuna.

Along with the results, Amazon said that slight fluctuations in year-to-year earnings are natural, and that the company is committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable. Arjuna commended Amazon for making a public commitment to fighting the gender pay gap.

In the United States, women were found to earn 21% less than men in 2014. However, this figure is still a big improvement compared to the 41% US gender pay gap back in the 1970s.

In the past, the wide gender pay gap was due to the limited opportunities for women to study and to work. On the other hand, a research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that despite better opportunities for women, the gap still persists   because high-paying industries are currently dominated by men.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you feel about the existence of a gender pay gap?
·         What do you think are other reasons why some companies pay women less than what they pay men?

Discussion B

·         In what other instances or situations can gender inequality occur? Enumerate.
·         How can a government help promote gender equality?

May 12, 2016