Women Leaders of Jewish Non-Profits Remain Scarce Even as Pay Gap Narrows

First Ever Analysis of Salaries Explains Pay Gap

kurt hoffman

By Maia Efrem and Jane Eisner

Published December 15, 2013, issue of December 27, 2013.
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In the five years since the Forward began publishing an annual list of leadership and compensation at the largest Jewish national not-for-profit organizations, a theme has emerged: The very few women leading these organizations are paid far less than their male colleagues, and the overall numbers haven’t budged significantly.

This year, there are still only 10 women leaders among the 74 organizational executives, a paltry 13.5%, and there’s still the same gender gap in pay, with women earning about 66 cents for every dollar earned by the men in the upper echelons of Jewish communal power.

Now, a first-ever analysis conducted for the Forward by independent experts has found that some of the pay gap is caused by the fact that women are concentrated in smaller organizations, which tend to pay their CEOs lower salaries. The analysis also found that the pay gap has narrowed over time, but it was unable to quantify why the gap continues to exist at all.

The analysis, led by Abraham Wyner, a professor of statistics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, created a model to predict the salaries of executives based on the size of their organizations, taking into account the number of employees and the amount of expenditures. This sort of compensation analysis is standard for evaluating the fairness of not-for-profit executive pay.

Who Earns What? Click Here To See All of the Salaries

The Wharton analysis shows that the gender gap in pay narrowed: In 2009, women earned about 73 cents for every dollar earned by men; in this year’s survey they earn 81 cents, when controlling for organizational size. The change was largely due to the recent inclusion in the survey of a handful of women who are being paid slightly more than predicted using the Wharton model — topped by the highest-paid woman on the list, Janice Weinman, executive director and CEO of Hadassah. Otherwise, women’s salaries grew at a slower rate than men’s.

Most striking in the new analysis is the variation in pay. In general, women earn about 20% less than men, even after taking into account the size of the organization. By using that same model, some men were found to be demonstrably underpaid while others were highly overpaid — even though federal regulations say that not-for-profits cannot pay “excessive compensation” to their leadership.

“Salaries in the charity area are a big problem,” said Ray Madoff, a Boston College Law School professor who is an expert on charitable giving. “They are pricing themselves like for-profit businesses, and there is nothing that really reins them in.”


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