Gender pay gap closing slowly for nonprofit employees

The gender pay gap for female CEOs of nonprofits is slowly closing, according to GuideStar's 2015 Nonprofit Compensation Report, which examines salaries reported to the IRS. This year's study found, on average, female heads of nonprofit organizations earned approximately 6 percent to 23 percent less than their male counterparts in 2013. Income inequality is still a problem for many business sectors across the country as women make 78 cents to every $1 earned by men, the White House reported.

Still a long way to go
The new numbers show progress when compared to results from 15 years ago. In 2001, the first year of GuideStar's research into the pay gap, female nonprofit leaders made 21 to 47 percent less than male directors. Yet, female nonprofit heads in some parts of the nation face an even greater pay discrepancy. While more women hold the top spot in nonprofits in southwestern Pennsylvania, they make 25 percent less than males in that same position, Nonprofit Quarterly reported, citing a recent study by the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University.

"We've made some progress and gained some ground before the Great Recession, but since then we've hit a plateau," Peggy Outon, executive director of the Bayer Center, told the Nonprofit Quarterly.

In fact, all CEO salaries in the nonprofit sector took a hit from the recession of 2008, the GuideStar study found, as increases in pay remained stagnant overall. However, those organizations giving raises did so at a higher rate for their female directors. Women were 1.3 percent to 3.8 percent more likely to see an addition in their paycheck compared with male CEOs, whose earnings fell between 0.4 and 3.7 percent, The Nonprofit Times reported.

"More women headed nonprofits with budgets greater than $10 million in 2013 compared to 2003," Chuck McLean, vice president for research at GuideStar, said in the study. "These gains, however, were offset by declines in smaller organizations."

Fewer female directors
Whether they work for small or midsize nonprofit organizations that outsource their donation management software and human resources tasks or larger multi-million dollar institutions with their own systems, the number of women in CEO positions is getting smaller.

While more women are found among smaller nonprofits, the number of females in leadership positions at larger nonprofits is down compared to the last decade. Only 18 percent of female employees are the heads of nonprofits that have a budget of $50 million or more, GuideStar found.

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