Pay Gap Between Men and Women Apparent Even In Non-Profit Sector

April 20, 2009

The pay gap between men and women, where the median income of women stands at about 75% of what men are paid, is equally prevalent in the world of non profit work, where startlingly more than 70% of the employees are female. This gap has been echoed in a number of surveys aimed at discovering the nature of these pay disparities, and why they are so rampant in the non-profit industry. A 2004 study by Guidestar, a non profit monitoring company, revealed that at groups with a budget of $50 million dollars or more, a male executive director was likely to be earning more than twice what a similarly employed female would be making.
A similar study conducted in 2007 by the Robert Morris University's Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management and the United Way of Allegheny Count, found similar trends in non-profit compensation between men and women. The study found that the average male non-profit director in Western Pennsylvania would make an average of $116,000 as compared to around $74,000 for women directors in the area.

Both studies examined the nature of these disparities by taking in a wide sample of both large and small non-profit groups. Both studies concluded that of large non-profit organizations that have large budgets with millions of dollars, the executives and directors are much more likely to be male, making up nearly 75% of the groups Guidestar surveyed. In addition, women are much more likely in both studies to be part of smaller non-profit organizations where salaries and budgets are much lower. It has also found that women are less likely to demand a salary that is commensurate with their fundraising efforts, compared with men who are likely to seek to find parity betweent their efforts and salary.

The good news, if any, is that the Guidestar survey shows that in non-profits with small budgets, women are actually making more money than their male counterparts, and are gaining over previous years in middle and high budget non-profits, closing the gap between the two groups. While this is a start, it does not truly address the disparities that exist here, and throughout the workplace.