Amazon Prime Employees Allege Pervasive Gender Inequality in Letter to Execs

Illustration for article titled Amazon Prime Employees Allege Pervasive Gender Inequality in Letter to Execs
Photo: Leon Neal / Staff (Getty Images)

In a March letter to company executives, Amazon Prime employees described a workplace culture of rank misogyny and pervasive gender inequality — one that included gratuitous promotions for men that far exceeded the number of similar opportunities available to women.

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According to a new report from Business Insider published Monday, the memo — which was sent anonymously because the employees feared retribution — was addressed to Kristen Puchek, who was at the time the head of equity, diversity, and inclusion for Amazon’s retail division. In the email, team members accused the Prime team of being “institutionally biased against women,” citing a lack of female leaders and a slew of promotions that had recently been awarded to employees who had “all been either Indian or white men.”

“I would like to believe this is just coincidence but I have observed women being more likely to be performance managed, not considered for promotions or stretch assignments, moved to less visible roles and, in a few cases, on the receiving end of rude and dismissive behavior,” the employee who penned the email, whose identity was not disclosed but was independently vetted by Insider, added. 

Although the memo was reportedly received and flagged internally to colleagues, Puchek left Amazon the next month without escalating the concerns further.

“These claims do not reflect the culture of Amazon or the Prime team,” an Amazon spokesperson told Insider in a statement responding to the memo.We have worked hard to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture in which all employees feel supported and successful within the Prime organization.

The spokesperson also claimed that 18 women on the Prime membership team had been promoted in the course of the last year — a statistic that would put the promotion rate for women “on par with the promotion rate for men.” 

Much ink has been spilled on how Amazon is a notoriously difficult place to work. Most recently, the company made headlines after it unveiled its new WorkingWell program, which is designed to give its notoriously overworked employees “physical and mental activities, wellness exercises, and healthy eating support” to “help them recharge and reenergize,” themselves.

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