Most of us probably intuit that there are more women than men working for charities and organizations with a social cause. Last year, the percentage of female staff in the non-profit sector was reportedly as high as 73%, according to the White House. Does this female super-majority translate into better pay for women? Does it translate into more female leadership?
There are certainly more female CEOs running non-profits than for-profit companies, but the larger the non-profit is, the less likely it is that a woman runs it. While more than 50% of non-profits with budgets less than $1 million were run by female CEOs, only 17% of non-profit organizations with budgets greater than $50 million had female CEOs. These figures are courtesy of Guidestar (an information services company who maintains a database of non-profit information based on their IRS filings). In their 2014 compensation report (paywall), they found “Female CEOs made 11 percent less on average at organizations with budgets of $250 thousand or less, and 23 percent less at organizations with budgets between $25 million and $50 million.”
I’ve had several conversations with women working in the non-profit world who tell me their experiences are of a predominantly female staff reporting into one or two men that head up a department or the entire organization. To add insult to injury, the data in Guidestar’s report suggests that these men probably get paid better than their female counterparts, too. (Caveat: The gender pay gap is controversial, some debate its existence at all, and I’ve written before about how its often misunderstood when discussed).
This data, on the surface, is pretty disappointing. Its a deep let-down because these organizations have social missions that generally speaking, try to level the playing field or help disadvantaged groups. It may be unfair to hold non-profits to a higher standard than for-profit corporations. On the other hand, these organizations have lofty mission statements, receive donations from people and benefit from tax breaks. If you work at a non-profit or know someone who does, please share your experience Fairygodboss, and help start to change things. We should expect more.