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wage gap

A new analysis of salaries of chief financial officers at large companies finds that female CFOs, of whom there were only 150 out of more than 1,900, earned an average of $1.32 million in total compensation. That is a whole lot of money—top 1 percent by any measure. But it's substantially less than the $1.54 million that male CFOs took home.

The firm [that conducted the analysis] said its model accurately predicted a CFO’s gender. The lower the salary, the more likely the CFO would be female.

“It’s a pretty strong argument that men and women are not being treated the same,” said Tom White, director of quantitative research for GMI and co-author of the report, which will be released as soon as tomorrow.

The report accounts for many, though not all, factors other than gender that might account for the widespread differences. One key factor that is accounted for is chief executive officer pay—it's not that women are more likely to be CFOs at companies that pay all their executives less.

It's hard to work up a whole lot of personal sympathy for the individual women earning just $1.32 million. But the fact that women at the very top of their elite profession are paid an average of $215,000 a year less than their male counterparts shows how pervasive sexism and gender inequality are in our society. If these women, with all the resources and power they command, aren't getting fair treatment, what chance does the average payroll clerk have?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Shocking, I say shocking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    No one could have known that women get paid less than men in all professions in America.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:11:56 PM PDT

  •  Women's rights and equality is the top... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    issue in my opinion.

    Many people think that the USA is so far "ahead" that, maybe, nothing more needs to be done.  In comparison to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and some other countries we are "ahead" - or, more accurately, they are still far, far behind.

    Yet here we are,  in the 21st century and one major US political party is virtually at war against women's rights.  We are fighting over things that had been thought settled - birth control and even the "no-brainer" violence against women act.

    We're defending ground that shouldn't need to be defended.

    I only hope the GOP loses BIG in November.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:14:25 PM PDT

  •  We have been warned for decades. (0+ / 0-)
    "We’ve got a generation now who were born with semiequality. They don’t know how it was before, so they think, this isn’t too bad. We’re working. We have our attache’ cases and our three piece suits. I get very disgusted with the younger generation of women. We had a torch to pass, and they are just sitting there. They don’t realize it can be taken away. Things are going to have to get worse before they join in fighting the battle." - Erma Bombeck
    Extra points for knowing when she said this

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:27:27 PM PDT

  •  Oh the horror! (0+ / 0-)

    I just can't put to words how upset this makes me as a dad of a family of 4 who live at or below federal poverty level. I'll lose sleep tonight.

    Perish the thought of the gender discrimination, over 200K less!!!!

    You know they say the Democratic party not only represents working people, the not rich, but also harbors limousine liberals who spend more on health care for their cat than the rest of us do on our families then expect us to fucking give a shit.

    Daily Kos Labor? Jesus Fucking Cheeeriest

    not a different world a different universe.  

    “Some students of natural history want no predator control at all, while many hunters and farmers want as much as they can get up to complete eradication. Both extremes are biologically unsound….” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:50:07 PM PDT

  •  I have seen it first-hand (8+ / 0-)

    As a manager (white male) I have been in those meetings with a bunch of other (male) managers deciding on how to rate our employees for bonuses, etc.   This was at a major technology company that you know.

    It is a pretty interesting dynamic.   You are supposed to fight for your employees but I get the impression that everybody was afraid to fight for their female reports.  
    Argue too much for them and you get that sideways look, unstated, but "say, are you doing her?"    It is of course especially bad for the younger female employees.

    It was rather flat-ass amazing to me, coming from a smaller company where you didn't have a bunch of middle managers doing the employee reviews.   I had a woman who was amazingly good technically move into my group late in the review cycle.   Her previous manager insisted that I give her a good review, and I agreed because even in the short time she had been with my group she had done heroic things.   I was absolutely dead ended and we ended up giving her a mediocre review because "every new person gets a mediocore review."    Of course that was not an issue for the very good guy who had moved into our group late in the review cycle.

    A woman can get a good review but they have to be practically super human.   The really interesting thing is that the very few female managers are almost harder on their female reports.

    I don't know what the solution is.

  •  “Labor” ? (0+ / 0-)

    Those female CFOs should strike, like right now.

  •  You'd Think They'd Notice (0+ / 0-)

    They're certainly in a position to.

  •  Ask Scotty ! (0+ / 0-)

    CAN'T pay them the same in Wisconsin !! That's the law!

  •  Here's an idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LNK, elfling, expatjourno

    From the real working world.  Don't pay female CFO's more, pay the males less... That's how they do it for everybody else.

    •  Great way to derail a conversation (0+ / 0-)

      about sexism.

      "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

      by hepshiba on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:04:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not what I intended! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        expatjourno

        Sexism is universal, for both rich and poor.  But it's hard to get worked up over  overpaid women.  It's hard to get worked up over the female CEO of IBM not being allows to join Augusta Golf club because she's female.  Do we think that if we can female corporate executives equal pay that equal pay will follow for the 99%?  I couldn't care less that the female pirates of the 1% are disrespected by the male pirates...

  •  I would think that the fact that only 7.9% (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hepshiba, Deep Harm, Odysseus, LNK, elfling, BoxNDox

    of the top 1% earners are female says more about the gender gap than the disparity in compensation.  That the ratio of men to women is about 13 to one is grim indeed.  Given that more women are graduating from college right now, what does this say about our educated and intelligent women's chances of making in this world much less our women with less prestigious background.  

  •  Gender Gap for CFOs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling

    The odds are pretty good that the female CFOs are not only paid less, but more capable than their male counterparts.  It is pretty tough for a woman to make her way to this kind of position.

    Part of that greater capability might be a more sensible attitude toward compensation. Focusing on what is good for the corporation rather than an extra ten thousand dollars or so of personal compensation would be good for business.  

    Twenty or thirty years ago we might have found that the average salary for a female CFO was zero because there weren't any.  

    The figures in this article are a sign of progress -- more women as CFOs, more CFOs whose attitude toward compensation is less aggressive.

  •  I'm annoyed by the dismissive comments (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Harm, Odysseus, elfling, sethtriggs

    because they obscure the important point the article makes:

    Class does not trump sex.

    This study (once again) makes clear what feminists have been arguing for generations: sexism is its own specific form of oppression, and needs to be considered as such if we're going to eradicate it.

    I don't feel sorry for women who make $1.32 million a year.  But I am alarmed at an indicator that, no matter how high a woman rises, she will never be considered the equal of her male colleagues.  And I'm pretty sure that this problem will persist until woman have a majority voice in policy-making.  Which means that I'm pretty sure it will persist.

    "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

    by hepshiba on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:02:41 AM PDT

  •  So female CFOs earn 85% of what male CFO's... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoxNDox

    ...earn. And that doesn't count:

    The GMI study didn’t account for the possibility that female CFOs could have shorter work histories due to being more likely than men to interrupt their careers to bear and care for children, according to the report.

    The study also didn’t consider the possibility that women might be more likely to move up within a single organization over time. Men may be more likely to switch employers as they move up, a factor that could lead to higher pay.

    Barack Obama: So morally bankrupt that he thinks people who tortured other people to death should get a pass. Likes to prosecute whistleblowers and pot smokers, though.

    by expatjourno on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:12:08 AM PDT

    •  Every good study (0+ / 0-)

      includes a list of potential weaknesses.  That's good science.

      But when readers focus on the potential weaknesses as if they preclude discussing the results?

      That's sexism.

      "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

      by hepshiba on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 05:18:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The things that expatjourno points out (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        expatjourno, Odysseus, BoxNDox

        are not weaknesses, they are likely some very key points in understanding the research results.  Having worked in the corporate world for some time, it is unlikely that women that rise to high levels are interrupting their careers for their children, many don't have any or their just don't take the usual time, they have live in nannies.  The second point is more likely.  If you want to make more money you need to change companies because once you accept a compensation level at most companies you are only likely to get nominal (3% to 5%) increases year after year.  You want a large bump(15% to 20%), you need to move.

        •  What is your basis for claiming (0+ / 0-)

          they are "likely" to be "key points"?  The most you can claim is that an analysis of these factors may influence the outcome.  You're hypothesizing, and you're using an untested hypothesis to avoid talking about the results of actual research.

          "Having worked in the corporate world for some time..."

          Yeah, substitute anecdote for research -- that'll clarify things.

          It's still sexism.

          "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

          by hepshiba on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 06:19:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  These are contributing factors, you are the one (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            expatjourno, MixedContent

            that is make a leap.  Is sexism in play, probably but to what extent outright sexism is involved has never been tested.  They would have to do much more testing and analysis.  They would have to find a group of men and women with EXACTLY the same work history and compare salaries, how long they were employed, how often they moved, how much personal time(for whatever reason) they took, they would have to compare evaluations over the long term to come to the conclusion sex WAS the ONLY factor.  You are the one taking some broad results and reaching specific conclusions.  

      •  Straw man alert. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BoxNDox
        But when readers focus on the potential weaknesses as if they preclude discussing the results?
        But thanks for playing.

        Barack Obama: So morally bankrupt that he thinks people who tortured other people to death should get a pass. Likes to prosecute whistleblowers and pot smokers, though.

        by expatjourno on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 06:40:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And you make my point again (0+ / 0-)

          by adamantly not discussing inequity.

          Thank you for doing this in real life.  Because the only one playing here is you.

          Sexist.  Period. And all the hand-waving and blame deflecting you do is not going to make it any less so.

          "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

          by hepshiba on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 07:07:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  An HR-able insult for the second time. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MixedContent, BoxNDox

            It's no better than making unfounded accusations of racism or antisemitism.

            Please try to get ahold of yourself.

            Barack Obama: So morally bankrupt that he thinks people who tortured other people to death should get a pass. Likes to prosecute whistleblowers and pot smokers, though.

            by expatjourno on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 07:20:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pray tell, what is HR-able (0+ / 0-)

              about the argument that sidestepping the issue of equity by quoting (not commenting on or discussing) the self-stated weaknesses of this survey is sexist?

              Especially in a diary devoted to discussing the issue of sexism and inequity?

              Commenting on observed sexist behavior is not name calling.  It is not an ad hominem attack. It is not forbidden.

              If you don't like it, maybe you should reflect on the critique.  And on your apparent belief that being called out for sexist behavior is so horrifying as to require dishing out donuts and (ironically) inferring that the woman who suggests it is hysterical.

              "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

              by hepshiba on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 07:37:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just one of several problems (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                expatjourno, BoxNDox

                Sexism is real and hurts women's salaries.  However, there are other real effects, as you've been shown.

                If you want to make more money you need to change companies because once you accept a compensation level at most companies you are only likely to get nominal (3% to 5%) increases year after year.  You want a large bump(15% to 20%), you need to move.
                Twice in my life, I have changed jobs because I got a substantially better offer.  The lower one was 40% better than what I made previously.  People who stay in one job never see those kinds of raises.  You can make up a decade of slow wage growth in one jump.  If women are "more loyal", than men, then they certainly are being affected by this dynamic also.

                The only answer is to start buying corporations.  Every public company is a takeover target.  Find enough people to buy a majority and institute equal pay policies.  This is something that CAN be attacked grassroots, if people want to do it.

                -7.75 -4.67

                "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                There are no Christians in foxholes.

                by Odysseus on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:57:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have not "been shown" (0+ / 0-)

                  anything, though others have voiced opinions.  It is my opinion that controlling for those two variables will not reduce the salary imbalance substantially, in which case, even if those problems are fixed, sexism will remain a pressing issue. In addition, I could make some pretty good arguments to support the idea that women execs change jobs less often because, as women, it's harder for them to get hired, and when they do get hired, the pay bump is smaller than it would be for a man.  But this is beside the point. I am very tired of listening to people insist we should address every variable except gender.

                  Your "solution" depends on some group of equality-minded "people" marshaling resources to purchase corporations, and then instituting equal pay policies.  This is a very Republican answer -- the problem can be solved on a company-by-company basis by "owners" wielding capital, without all that nasty government regulation.  A thousand points of equity!

                  My solution depends on legislating and enforcing equal pay acts and giving them teeth in court by allowing class action suits, as well as admitting evidence demonstrating trends across industries, rather than (as the conservative courts insist) pretending that each case must be fought by individual women proving that in each case they are denied equal pay for no reason other than their gender -- thereby making it almost impossible to establish gender bias, because a company can always muster a hundred other excuses. I am also unashamedly pro affirmative action, because it works.

                  When you say, "the only answer is..." you declare a certitude that leaves no room for contradiction or argument. But that's a rhetorical strategy, not a fact.

                  "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

                  by hepshiba on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:31:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We agree on more than you think. (0+ / 0-)
                    It is my opinion that controlling for those two variables will not reduce the salary imbalance substantially, in which case, even if those problems are fixed, sexism will remain a pressing issue.
                    quibble about "substantially", but yes, sexism is at least on par.
                    In addition, I could make some pretty good arguments to support the idea that women execs change jobs less often because, as women, it's harder for them to get hired, and when they do get hired, the pay bump is smaller than it would be for a man.
                    Agreed, and not at all beside the point.  If job change actions do not pay off as well, it's quite rational to take fewer actions.
                    Your "solution" depends on some group of equality-minded "people" marshaling resources to purchase corporations, and then instituting equal pay policies.
                    Correct, but there are additional benefits.  For one, it shows that there are a substantial number of people who are willing to take action on this, which makes the politics much easier.

                    -7.75 -4.67

                    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                    There are no Christians in foxholes.

                    by Odysseus on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:50:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I find this a mischaracterization (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    expatjourno
                    I am very tired of listening to people insist we should address every variable except gender.
                    It looks to me as if the argument you are answering is not saying that, it's saying that we should address other variables as well as gender, because gender might not be the only factor involved.

                    In that context, you appear to be saying that no other factors could possibly be involved, but you don't seem to have much in the way of facts or reasoning to support that claim.

                    Perhaps you could take the opportunity now to clarify your position.

                    •  No, if you read up-thread (0+ / 0-)

                      my response was initiated by a comment that merely quoted two possible self-described weaknesses in the study. The tone of the comment was dismissive, offering nothing substantial except these possible weaknesses, as if they threw the study's results into question.

                      I spend my days editing scientific papers, and they all list possible weaknesses in their Discussion sections. But if there was evidence that the flaws would disqualify their results, the authors would not have published their paper. Usually these possible flaws are listed in order to suggest directions for future research.  

                      Simply listing the flaws as if they undermine the claim that women are paid less than men is, in my opinion, an attempt to derail a discussion on gender equity. And this, again in my opinion, is a sexist move -- whether intentional or not. I stand by that assertion.

                      This is not at all the same as saying no other factors could possibly be involved, and I can't imagine you actually read what I wrote if you're claiming that.  I said that I believe that even controlling for those factors, there would still be inequity, and that since gender inequity is the subject of the diary, it would be appropriate to address it instead of trying to change the subject.  And instead of chasing down a by now very, very tired thread.

                      "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

                      by hepshiba on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 02:42:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Which "self" is describing "weaknesses"? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        expatjourno

                        The study includes those statements of limitation, whereas your article smoothly elides them ("The report accounts for many, though not all, factors other than gender...").

                        That would seem to rate a comment.

                        You fault the comment for mentioning the limitations, "as if they threw the study's results into question".  No, not the study's results, just your selective presentation of those results.

                        And this, again in my opinion, is a sexist move -- whether intentional or not.

                        What on earth does that mean?  Someone makes a verbal statement, clearly an intentional act, and you know, better than that person does, that the statement is motivated by sexism?

          •  And you know expat's true motives ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            expatjourno

            ... because you can read minds over the internet?

            That could be a marketable skill, you know.

      •  I think good science attempts to explain anomalies (0+ / 0-)

        or differences between the predicted and the measured results by trying to account for what was not controlled.
             I remember this from my community college physics laboratory experiments. It was a requirement to offer an explanation of the differences. If it was missing you lost 5 points. I remember once I explained that the difference between how far i calculated a steel ball would go horizontally before it hit the ground and how far it actually measured was due to the Jupiter effect, sunspots, and continental drift. I got full points. He didn't say they had to be reasonable.

        Slow thinkers - keep right

        by Dave the Wave on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:24:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Women in corporations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    expatjourno

    In my work experience.......30 years ago the recruiters at a major firm came back from college campuses saying that the best and the brightest were women. They were told: Hire them!

    I set my 'clock/calendar' to see what happens when these women get the same length of service as men had (always cited as why there weren't more women at the top in those days).

    The first thing I noted was that if there were senior women they were in 'soft' areas like Human Resources and/or in token positions.

    I sat through many, many careless, sexist conversations at work. Even the gay guy had to pretend to share the same drooling feelings about sexy women pop stars. Painful.

    Meanwhile, a question:  Can we ever know how many women (and minorities) were passed up for promotion?

  •  You're right about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    expatjourno

    it being hard to work up a whole lot of personal sympathy for the individual women earning just $1.32 million.

    In fact, I can't seem to work up any sympathy for either male or female CFOs or any other executives for that matter. It's the workers I feel for.

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