Women Still Lag Behind

Who Won and Lost in Latest Survey of Communal Pay?


By Maia Efrem and Jane Eisner

Published December 10, 2012, issue of December 14, 2012.
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The Forward’s fourth annual survey of Jewish not-for-profit organizations shows little change in communal leadership or compensation, or in the gender gap that has women still lagging far behind the national trends in salary and representation in the upper echelons of Jewish communal power.

The number of women in leadership roles grew slightly, and the gender gap in pay narrowed since last year: There are now 10 women among the 75 leaders of major federations, advocacy and service organizations, and religious and educational institutions, and women earn about 66 cents for every dollar earned by men, four cents more than last year.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE ENTIRE SURVEY

The median pay for women in the survey increased, too, to $220,450 this year from $211,000 in the 2011 survey. But these advances were largely due to the appointment in April of Janice Weinman as executive director and CEO of Hadassah, who is paid $410,000, by far the highest salary for a woman in the survey. It is, however, less than what the male chief financial officer of Hadassah earned in 2011, and less than half of what Richard Joel, president of Yeshiva University, takes home. Joel is, once again, the best-compensated leader in the survey, earning $879,821 in 2011, a 3.7% jump from the previous year.


Click to Read the Full Survey

Facing the lingering effects of the recession, some communal leaders saw no boost in salary, while others took pay cuts. But other salaries continue to soar: Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, received a 10.75% increase, while David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, was awarded a 13.7% hike.

CLICK HERE FOR “THE HOW’S AND WHY’S BEHIND THE FORWARD SURVEY”

In 2010, according to the latest report by GuideStar, which collects financial data that not-for-profits file with the Internal Revenue Service, the median increase in salaries for not-for-profit CEOs hovered at 1.6%.

The Forward survey uses data from the 990 tax forms that not-for-profits file with the IRS, and then seeks to verify the information with every organization on the list. Data from 2012 is used when it is made available. Leaders of religious institutions are not obliged to make public their salaries and other information about their operations, and have declined to do so voluntarily.

The gender gap in the Jewish communal world is larger than in the work force overall. A survey released recently by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics of fulltime wage and salary workers found that women earned around 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. A survey based on 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data put the gap at 77 cents.

Studies by other Jewish organizations mirror the Forward’s findings. A study of rabbinic compensation by gender, released in June by the Central Conference of American Rabbis and representing the Reform movement, found that women rabbis consistently earn less than their male counterparts, as much as 77 cents to the dollar.

READ LAST YEAR’S SALARY SURVEY AND THE 2010 SALARY SURVEY

Similar trends emerged from an ambitious survey by alumni of New York University, conducted online and drawing nearly 1,700 respondents from all levels of responsibility in Jewish communal organizations. The gender gap was evident among all age groups, with men earning on average $83,388 and women earning $59,654. When it came to full-time workers with dependents, men out-earned women by about $28,400, the NYU survey found.

The Forward’s report documents that the status quo continues in many areas of Jewish communal leadership. There still is only one woman at the helm of any of the 18 major federations in the United States: Jennifer Gorovitz, CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco. And among all the denominational seminaries and advocacy groups, there still is only one woman in a leadership role: Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, representing Conservative rabbis.


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