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Women’s Equality and Your Organization

by Mary Erin Casale

Tomorrow is Women’s Equality Day. It marks the 95th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. ThWomens-Equality-Dayis success was the result of three generations of unrelenting, brilliant and courageous advocacy work. With little financial, legal or political power of their own, and working against a well-financed and entrenched opposition, women fought for their rights of citizenship.

Unfortunately, 95 years later, women are still fighting for full equality. Women make up nearly half of our nation’s workforce, yet from factory floors to boardrooms, their talent and hard work are not reflected in their paycheck. Today, women on average are paid only 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. For women of color, that pay gap is even wider.

And in the nonprofit world, that wage gap persists from the largest organization to the smallest. According to the most recent GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, median compensation for female CEOs lagged behind that of respective male CEOs by up to 23 percent depending on the organization size. Women are making strides in leadership at organizations with budgets of less than a million dollars, holding a majority of CEO positions. But only 17 percent of organizations with budgets larger than $50 million had a female CEO in leadership.

Right here in Maine, women hold 60% of the full-time Executive Director positions at reporting organizations with budgets under $5 million, but only 35% at reporting organizations with budgets over $5 million. The wages reported reflect a continued gender disparity in Executive Director pay, and disparity generally increases as the size of the organization increases. This information and more is available in our 2014 Maine Nonprofit Compensation Report: Wages + Benefits.

These gaps also exist when it comes to board membership. Overall, women make up 43 percent of the membership of nonprofit boards. However, when it comes to comes to organizations with incomes of $25 million or more, that number drops to 33 percent.

In our Answer Center, our Diversity on Boards section lists resources to help you think about how you can bring new perspectives to your organization. Take some time tomorrow to seriously reflect on your organization’s commitment to not just diversity, but inclusivity. Your mission (and your funders) will thank you.

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