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Man holding big piggybank, woman holding small piggybank
Further tales of how, even at the very tippy top of the American system of economic inequality, women are still losing out:
The highest-paid female CEO still made less than half of what was given to the highest-paid male CEOs, according to an analysis of executive pay by the Wall Street Journal.

CEO of TJX Carol Meyrowitz, which owns T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods, was the highest-paid woman in the survey and gets a compensation package of $20.6 million. The top-paid male executive, Lawrence Ellison of Oracle, gets a package valued at $76.9 million, more than three and a half times more. Meyrowitz ranks at number 27 on the list of 300 in terms of top pay.

Sure, there are a lot of ways to reorient the comparison to try to make the gap look smaller, but it's difficult because the number of female CEOs is so small. And isn't that telling in itself? At a certain point, no matter how much you can in theory find a way to explain away, if you're always trying to explain away the same thing, maybe the answer is that it's a problem that should actually be fixed.

Also, too, women are more likely to be forced out from the few CEO jobs they get.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  and they want women to be happy that there are (7+ / 0-)

    even female CEOs to talk about....

    Sure, there are a lot of ways to reorient the comparison to try to make the gap look smaller, but it's difficult because the number of female CEOs is so small. And isn't that telling in itself? At a certain point, no matter how much you can in theory find a way to explain away, if you're always trying to explain away the same thing, maybe the answer is that it's a problem that should actually be fixed.
    Also, too, women are more likely to be forced out from the few CEO jobs they get.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:12:32 PM PDT

  •  and this is misogyny (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vita Brevis, jbsoul, Lujane

    it's just accepted that women are worth less, and should be glad to get any promotion, because, women succeed only by working twice as hard, they don't have the talent, and women won't close the deal, they'll shy away from making a choice that could lead to unpopularity, and anyway men don't like working for women, and women don't like working for women either, and and and

    Whenever a mid-level woman says something brilliant in a staff meeting, be sure that in a few days it will be 'remembered' as coming from someone else, a man, who will have promoted that idea as if it were his, and in time it will be his. That's implanting false memories 101.

    Because you will find more cutthroat male competitors, they won't make the best managers, but they'll grab the jobs any way they can.  

    (women make better managers, mainly because women are more likely to listen)

    plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

    by anna shane on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:23:21 PM PDT

  •  Maybe you should compare compensation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cryonaut, VClib, AlexDrew

    against Market Cap. or Profitability.  Ellison earns 3x more than Meyrowitz, but Oracle's Market Cap and Profitability are approximately 5x more.  I'm sure there are better examples to make the point.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:43:27 PM PDT

  •  Which means that female CEOs are also ridiculously (6+ / 0-)

    overpaid.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:08:03 PM PDT

  •  I think this is a more compelling (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, jbsoul, kck, AlexDrew, Lujane

    point . Especially when the predictable comments come in:

    Within her own industry, she may be paid well. The Journal notes that she made more than the CEOs of Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Gap. Similarly, it points out that the lowest-paid female CEO, Kim Bowers of gas station and convenience store retailer CST Brands Inc., made more than the chief executives of competitors World Fuel Service Corp., Delek US Holdings, and Western Refining Inc. Other analyses have come to different conclusions, however: A Bloomberg analysis last year noted that Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, was paid 24 percent less than the average for the food industry and Heather Bresch of pharmaceutical company Mylan made 33 percent less than the average for her sector.
    I think it's misleading to compare pay for industries that aren't comparable ( eg TJ Maxx and Oracle) . It's the intra-industry gaps that make the point.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Wed May 28, 2014 at 02:21:48 PM PDT

  •  NONE of these highly paid people deserve such high (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    pay.

    Not even the woman.

    Frankly, (ok, half-seriously), I'd prefer to see NO women among these overpaid, capitalist pigs.

    •  I can't agree. (0+ / 0-)

      Actually, I think Ellison does - he's a complete asshole and jerk but, basically, it's really his company. He contributed over half the finances to the company ($1200) for founding and was the key person in the development of the company. He's managed the beast since then -- almost 40 years -- and the company is still is a winner (spoken as one who has worked for companies he crushed with honest marketing - not to be confused with technical excellence).

      He owns a substantial percentage of the company. He manages it. He has for decades. It's very rare for a founder (or, collectively, founders) to own more than 10% of a company three decades later. I think Ellison is way over this percentage (over 20%?, but I've not looked it up in a while).

      Should a shopkeeper who invests her life savings in a store on Etsy be limited or judged because she successfully marketed embroidered frog turds and there's actually a multimillion dollar market for that product and she manages the organization to become the multinational embroidered frog turd juggernaut? There was never a single person who was forced to work for Oracle (I certainly didn't accept their offer) or buy their product.

  •  I wonder (0+ / 0-)

    What the male/female pay disparity would look like if we subtracted the 1%?
      We already know the 1% is largely white males, but the 99% isn't.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Wed May 28, 2014 at 03:03:32 PM PDT

    •  It persists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane
      The pay gap is worse for women of color.
      The gender pay gap affects all women, but for black and Hispanic women the pay shortfall is worse Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 87 percent of white men’s earnings. Hispanic women’s salaries show the largest gap, at 53 percent of white men’s earnings. White men are used as a benchmark because they make up the largest demographic group in the labor force.

      Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation.
      From elementary and middle school teachers to computer programmers, women are paid less than men in female-dominated, gender-balanced, and male-dominated occupations.

      The pay gap grows with age.
      Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit 35. After that median earnings for women are typically 75–80 percent of what men are paid.

      http://www.aauw.org/...

      We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

      by Vita Brevis on Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:13:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's apples and oranges (0+ / 0-)

        Unless you make the assumption that the 1% is only in a couple industries, and I don't think that is right.

        "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

        by gjohnsit on Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:20:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You asked what about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane

          the 99% did you not?

          As stated,  in almost every occupation ( which would presumably encompass the 99% and not be limited to the 1%) . It's not an inference. It's stated:

          From elementary and middle school teachers to computer programmers, women are paid less than men in female-dominated, gender-balanced, and male-dominated occupations.
          I think we can agree that elementary and middle school teachers are not the 1% yes? And while tech wealth is significant, there are likely to be some computer programmers not among the 1%?

          We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

          by Vita Brevis on Wed May 28, 2014 at 05:49:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Who cares what ruling class women make? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexDrew, dfarrah

    Once again we get pimped by the liberals who think the idea is to pay women exploiters as much as male exploiters. When true economic justice is achieved for all workers gender inequality will cease to exist. Gender equality is not about paying ruling class female bosses the same as ruling class male bosses. They're both still our bosses and their job is to maximize profit for their shareholders, which means squeezing as much surplus value out of workers as they possibly can; i.e., paying you as little as possible to produce a product the CEO (male or female), will sell for as much as possible and then give the in-between (profit) to the non-laboring shareholders. Labor still creates all wealth. And just like it makes no difference to slaves whether the person cracking the whip on the day shift is paid as much as the whip-cracker on the night shift,  it makes no difference to the working class whether the women CEOs are paid as much as the male CEOs.  

  •  Average Fortune 500 CEO total compensation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexDrew

    is about $10 million so Meyrowitz is at two times the mean. Isn't that a better comparison?

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Wed May 28, 2014 at 03:26:58 PM PDT

    •  Depends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane

      What # of female CEOs are above  the mean and by how much? Is she an outlier?  

      The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that female CEOs made less than 80 percent of what male ones made in 2013, although that’s up from 69 percent two years ago. The Bloomberg analysis found that not just looking at CEOs, but at the highest paid executives at S&P 500 companies, women are paid 18 percent less than men.
      If women are consistently paid less than our male peers , are we supposed to be satisfied that we're making good money but still not the same amount as the men?

      All of these CEO salaries are obscene to me but that's a different discussion.

      We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

      by Vita Brevis on Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:08:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The mean seems like a better comparison (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane

        than the metrics in the diary, which made no sense. The real comparison should be with a peer group and there is likely some discussion about such a group in the company's proxy statement. Public companies usually pick 8-12 companies of similar size, in the same industry, and compare the compensation of their top executives to that peer group and include an analysis in the proxy statement.  

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:34:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nope. Not even close. (0+ / 0-)

      Do you really think that all CEOs are interchangeable across all business in all industries?

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:56:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Google searches itself and finds the obvious: (0+ / 0-)

    Google Releases Employee Data, Illustrating Tech’s Diversity Challenge

    There are quite a few articles on this right now. Just google....

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:05:23 PM PDT

  •  Who cares? (0+ / 0-)

    Aren't something like 25% of black males are being incarcerated while they are teenagers, young adults?

    This situation is something to write about - not about overpaid women and men.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:44:25 PM PDT

    •  Because They Don't Make the Kinds of Decisions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      that run the country.

      It's not unimportant to talk about them, but there is a place for talking about society's leadership mix.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:14:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  'leadership'..... (0+ / 0-)

        right.

        It's outrageous that anyone be paid as much as corporate executives are.

        All the head of the companies could die tomorrow and their companies would continue, because the workers are doing the work.

        This diary distracts from the real problem about wages - the workers are creating the value that the corporate 'leaders' are stealing.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:04:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oh good lord! (5+ / 0-)

    Larry Ellison OWNS Oracle.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Ellison (born August 17, 1944) is an American businessman, best known as the co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation, an enterprise software company. In 2014, Forbes listed him as the third-wealthiest man in America and as the fifth-wealthiest person in the world, with a fortune of $52 billion.
    You could not have come up with a more apples and oranges comparison.  

    If you want to do an Apples to Apples compare Ellison to Oprah

    http://www.forbes.com/...

    Her pay is "down" to $77 million.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:19:08 PM PDT

  •  A few points... (5+ / 0-)

    1) You kind of have to mention this one:

    International Business Machines Corp.'s IBM +0.33% Virginia Rometty turned in the worst performance among female CEOs in the survey, with total shareholder returns of minus 0.2%. Ms. Rometty made $13.2 million, significantly more than some better-performing male and female chiefs.
    Leaving this out of the discussion seems a bit much, since it serves as something of a counterexample to the desired narrative.

    2) You can't compare across industries. Does anyone here really want to argue that oil/gas, technology, and retail companies should be considered comparable? Lumping them all into one list is goofy because--again--it assumes that the only differentiator is gender. Look what happens when we talk about retailers as a group:

    Ms. Meyrowitz made more than Terry Lundgren, CEO of rival Macy's Inc., who was awarded $11.3 million, even though both retailers have comparable revenue. TJX has edged out Macy's in terms of shareholder return over the past three years. Ms. Meyrowitz also collected more than Kevin Mansell, CEO of Kohl's Corp., and Glenn Murphy, CEO of Gap Inc.
    3) You have to look to the details. For instance, the article mentions:
    At the other end of the scale, Kim Bowers, chief executive of gas-station and convenience-store retailer CST Brands Inc., had the lowest compensation package of the women on the list, at $4.9 million.
    What they DON'T mention is that CST is a brand new company (spun off from Valero Energy in 2013) and that CST's net income for 2013 was all of $139 million (down from $200+ million the previous year). Does anyone here expect a new, struggling oil/gas company with $139 million in net income to pay stratospheric CEO compensation? Is it even worth the time to compare a company with under $150 million in net income (CST) to a company in a different field with net income of $6.2 billion (IBM)?

    I'd be VERY interested to see a comparison within specific industries (e.g. high-tech CEOs, oil/gas CEOs, manufacturing CEOs), or perhaps by market cap, but this sort of mishmash is really rather useless.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:36:42 PM PDT

  •  It's clear what we need to do. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betterdemsonly, dfarrah, StevenD56

    Cut the pay of those 26 men, for starters.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:52:07 PM PDT

  •  Ellison is in a different category as founder (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksuwildkat, Kascade Kat

    He is the Bill Gates of Oracle.

    Whoever pops on the scene years later won't do squat compared to a Gates or Ellison.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:57:30 PM PDT

  •  This isn't exactly a labor issues (0+ / 0-)

    This is more a management issue.

  •  A previous post offers an "explaination" (0+ / 0-)

    Quote:

    "Maybe you should compare compensation (3+ / 0-)

    against Market Cap. or Profitability.  Ellison earns 3x more than Meyrowitz, but Oracle's Market Cap and Profitability are approximately 5x more.  I'm sure there are better examples to make the point."

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Wed May 28, 2014 at 01:43:27 PM PDT

    I do think that there is more to this than just a comparison of the highest paid woman to the men that are also at the top overall.  As this poster said, it has a lot to do with the size/profitability/revenue of the various companies.

    The true disparity is that the truly "big" companies don't have women at the top.  Isn't that where this conversation should go?

  •  Didn't Steve Jobs make $1 a year directly? (0+ / 0-)

    Looking just at direct compensation for CEOs is missing the big picture.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:04:40 PM PDT

    •  He did and so does Ellison (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Beelzebubs Brass Bs, TrueBlueDem

      http://www.networkworld.com/...

      Ellison drew a token $1 salary for the third year in a row and declined a $1.2 million performance-based bonus after the company missed its internal financial targets. Those gestures did little to reduce the value of his compensation, however. The significant difference between his $78.4 million package in 2013 and his $96.2 million package in 2012 is the value of the stock awards granted to Ellison during the fiscal year -- which were worth $76.9 million this year, compared to $90.7 million in 2012.
      Which only makes the comparison that much more silly.

      Ms. Meyrowitz received roughly $6 million in cash and $14 million in stock or stock options.  

      http://www1.salary.com/...

      Oh and she sold almost half those shares immediately meaning she has less skin in the game where as Larry Elision owns 25% of Oracle and is buying more.  More publicly available data that the writers of the original article choose to ignore.

      Oracle has a market cap (as of Friday close) of $181 Billion, a profit of $10 billion last year and a profit margin of 29%

      TJX has a market cap of $40 billion, a profit of $2 billion last year and profit margin of 7.8%.  

      These two companies are not just in different area codes, they are in different phone books.

      Based simply on profit alone Ellison did 5x as well as Meyrowitz but the more telling number is margin.  Last year Oracle sold $37billion of stuff and managed to make $10billion while employing 120,000 high wage people.  TJX sold $27billion of stuff but only managed $2billion in profit while employing 191,000 low wage people.  

      Oracle employees hundreds of millionaire engineers, sales people, programers and a few millionaire secretaries.  It is doubtful there is a single TJX employee (as opposed to executive) who makes more that $150,000 and the vast majority make less than $40K.  The crime here is not that Larry Ellison makes so much more than Meyrowitz but that she get paid as much as she does.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sat May 31, 2014 at 07:19:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And why is this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raboof, ksuwildkat

    being front paged again?

    Hasn't it already been recycled twice?

    Can we put this in the dust bin and move on to some other topic?  

    Maybe we should take up a collection for all of those poor underpaid women.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sat May 31, 2014 at 06:09:18 PM PDT

  •  I weep for those poor, underpaid (0+ / 0-)

    female CEOs. Not!

  •  And I suppose it's irrelevant that (0+ / 0-)

    TJX has a market cap that is about 1/6th that of Oracle.

  •  Yeah? Well, they're all overpaid (0+ / 0-)

    Americans are in real trouble. The oligarchs are misanthropes.

    by Road to1 Escondido on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:13:51 PM PDT

  •  Great diary! (0+ / 0-)

    I love fighting on behalf of people who get only $20,600,000/year.  Its an outrage this 1%er isn't being paid fairly.

    •  Agreed, strange diary (0+ / 0-)

      from Ms. Clawson, who usually writes about economic difficulties affecting the working poor and middle class ... if you are compling a list of economic injustices in American society, this one ranks rather low

  •  A little more context. (0+ / 0-)

    The reference article points out that [comments]:

    Within her own industry, she [Carol Meyrowitz] may be paid well. The Journal notes that she made more than the CEOs of Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Gap [all male].
    In a quick look at TJX, it appears she has done a good job for the shareholders - comparable to Macys and better than Gap and Kohls. So, within her industry she seems to be doing well.

    Comparing Larry Ellison to almost any modern CEO of a large company is a bit ridiculous. Larry Ellison, almost 40 years ago, founded the company (Oracle) and provided the majority of the initial funding. He has grown the company from essentially nothing into a reliable performer with a market cap of $187B and revenues of $37B. He has seen the company through thick and thin. There are few (any?) companies in Oracle's industry that have been led continuously by their founder for almost 40 years and have prospered. [Disclosure: Ellison is a first class jerk and egotist, but that has nothing to do with financial performance]. From the WSJ chart, we discover that Ellison had annual compensation of $76.9M in 2013 while, for example, Mevrowitz had compensation of $20.6M but only assumed the CEO role in 2007.

    If one compares the adjusted stock price of ORCL to TJX from Jan 2007 to now, up until the middle of 2011 performance of ORCL and TJX was comparable. At that point, TJX began to experience a sharp increase through the beginning of 2014 and, in a bull market, has begun a decline while ORCL continues with a "steady as she goes" increase.

    The point of this is to provide some context, if TJX continues to experience the market cap growth it did from Jul 2011 to Jan 2014, I expect she will get substantially better compensation in coming years.

    •  But what does the CEO think? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WillR

      Most of Ms. Meyrowitz's compensation (~$14 million) was in stock or stock options.  As soon as she could, she exercised a sale of over $6 million.  99% of Larry Ellison's $77million was in stock.  He promptly bought $46 million more with his own money.

      Over the last year Ms. Meyrowitz has sold over $13 million in TJX stock.  I couldn't find a record of Mr. Ellison selling.

      One CEO thinks their company is overvalued, one thinks it undervalued.  

      Not only do I doubt TJX will experience a comparable growth in market cap Im going to go out on a limb and say in 5 years Ms. Meyrowitz will be "seeking other opportunities" and Mr. Ellison will STILL be the CEO of Oracle and STILL be underpaid.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:51:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And they're ALL still paid too much! (0+ / 0-)

    There is nothing any CEO does that makes them worth $20 million+ a year. It's insane, especially in light of how they all work to ensure those on the bottom rungs of their companies get paid and compensated so little.

    We need to tie CEO compensation to their performance and also to tie it to the wages of their employees.

    Imagine if ANY of these CEOs got paid something like $10 million a year. That would add between $10 million to over $60 million back into company coffers that could go to higher salaries for lower ranked employees, better benefits, etc.

    I'm all for the fight for equal pay, but CEO compensation is outrageous. And it sucks that Meyrowitz makes only $20 million...but only in comparison. She is, IMO, still paid too much...and the guys are too.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:36:52 AM PDT

  •  Cry me a river! (0+ / 0-)

    Women and men should be paid equally for equal work. About that we are in agreement, but it is obscene for anyone to be paid 20 million a year.

  •  Yes, let's weep for the 1%. (0+ / 0-)

    They're not making even more millions.

    "Without alienation, there can be no politics" ~ Arthur Miller

    by jwalker13 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:40:17 AM PDT

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