Friday, October 4, 2013

Why Aren't Women Paid as Much as Men?

An article in the October3, 2013 Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that women are rare in the ranks of top-earning nonprofit CEO’s.  Why is that?  Sheryl Sandberg of Lean In would no doubt say that women aren’t demanding more; they aren’t speaking up. 

I think it’s also because women who are in the non-profit sector are there because they care deeply about the cause, be it an international organization such as United Way, a small community organization, or a university.  In the same article, Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way says, “Research shows women are more inclined to advocate for their beliefs…to make a difference.” I believe it is difficult in most cases to feel that way about a corporate career.  The for-profit sector is quite different.  The product may not be a person’s passion, but it is their paycheck. 

My granddaughter got a very high paying corporate job right out of college.  She likes the job OK, she says but is looking forward to the day when she can work in the non-profit rather than for-profit sector and for something she really cares about.  Of course at a much lower salary. 

When writing our last book, Women and Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World, I interviewed a top executive with a major corporation.  She was all for the idea of making lots of money in the corporate sector so she could give it away. Not such a bad idea. 

I’m not saying that it’s right women aren’t making top dollars as CEO’s of nonprofits compared to men.  But I do think our gender and our values play a part in the equation.   Ultimately, the solution is for society to recognize the worth of those values.

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