The glass ceiling as a discriminatory phenomenon has pervaded almost every professional field, and the nonprofit sector has not been immune. In 2013, across all fields and sectors, working women earned 78% of their male counterparts’ salaries, according to the American Association of University Women. This gap has not shifted in over a decade, even as more women continue to enter the workforce. The gap increases for older women and women of color. Some occupations which tend to attract women, such as teaching, have always harbored lower salaries, but women are found to be paid less regardless of job choice and across gender-neutral and male-dominated fields.
We also see a gap in the field of planned giving, where women now outnumber men among PPP members in the nonprofit sector. Toni Jernigan, Director of Planned Giving at the Medical University of South Carolina has noted that “men are hired at a higher pay level regardless of their experience in development or PG [planned giving].” Certain demographic characteristics are at work, of course. Men in the field tend to be older and have more years of overall professional experience, evidenced by PPP’s recent Gift Planner Profile 7 (GPP7) survey. However, the discrepancy in representation above the median nonprofit salary range ($90,000-$99,000 for 2014), is undoubtedly skewed towards men. Further, GPP7 found while significant numbers of “director” positions across the nonprofit spectrum are held by roughly equal ratios of men and women, those with the titles of Vice President and President were much more likely to be men.
What can be done to close the gap and break the glass ceiling?
The most effective responses will incorporate action from all forces that exert pull over salary determination. Policy will need to require greater transparency and concrete determination that salary is based on factors other than gender. Hiring institutions, for their part, should proactively monitor and address gender-based pay differences. Individuals, lastly, should be familiar with powerful negotiation strategies and push for compensation that truly aligns with their respective experience and skill set. Should the gap continue to shrink at the current pace, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research expects women to receive equal pay no sooner than 2058, 43 years from now. The glass ceiling has the potential to be shattered, however, and doing so will usher in the equality that has for so long been denied to women in the workplace.
If you've found a way to bridge the gender gap, please use the comments field to share advice about career development, salary negotiation, or employment policies that break the glass ceiling.
Find out more about PPP's Gift Planner Profile 7 FREE download by clicking here or on the image below.