This isn’t a surprising revelation, but it’s an important one: According to a corporate research firm, female CEOs earned only 58% of what male CEOs earned in 2008– and their pay was slashed 3 times the amount of male CEO pay cuts . Additionally, men CEOs earned 3.5 times more in bonuses than women CEOs. On paper, this pay discrepancy may not have been obvious, because the median base salary was higher for women than for men. But as Reuters explains :
Top female chief executives’ median base salary was $40,000 higher than that for male CEOs, but men’s’ discretionary bonuses were more than 3.5 times larger than those given to females, and men’s perquisite payments were nearly twice the amount received by women.
A lot of the dialogue about the gender gap in earned salaries gets stuck on the issue of women not advancing to the top of companies, which is an important fact in its own right. But this issue can be twisted by those who deny the pay inequity problem, as they attempt to explain that if women did rise to the top of companies, the gender gap would disappear. Studies like this show the gap exists at all levels. There are few female CEOs in general, and their income still is strikingly less than their male counterparts’ income. As a related point, check out this graphical depiction from Sociological Images of income differences in the United States. The chart comes from Business Management, and shows the number of years a minimum wage worker, an average worker, and the President would all have to work in order to earn as much as CEOs earn in one year.
This illustrates that a person being paid minimum wage would have to work 2,256 years to earn what the CEO of Hewlett-Packard is paid in a year. An "average worker" (earning $40,690 annually) would have to work 836 years, and yes, President Obama would have to spend 85 working years to earn the grand total of $34,031,021. (This is just counting the president’s salary, of course, not all additional benefits earned during and after holding the office). Clearly, it’s not so bad to be a CEO. And the discrepancy between male and female CEOs is less than the one that exists between CEOs as a whole, and average American workers. But at every level of advancement, women’s work is undervalued and underpaid. I find it interesting that the median salary for women CEOs was higher than for men, but the total financial benefit received was far less. To me, this shows that blatant discrimination is unacceptable in our current cultural milieu– and that ‘equality’ is supposed to be valued and provided– but only on the surface . In reality, however, equality still doesn’t really exist. For instance:
Perquisite compensation — everything from company cars to club memberships — for male CEOs was nearly twice that received by women CEOs, on average.
Hmm…company cars…club memberships…what does that sound like? The old boys network still going strong.