Even at the Top of the Corporate Ladder, Women Are Paid Less Than Men

If a female executive retreats to her car to scream because her promotion was (again) awarded to her male colleague, does anyone hear her scream … or even care? Probably not. Unfortunately, this happens countless times a day as working women continue to get passed over, neglected, and discriminated against in their careers. What’s worse is that this epidemic isn’t isolated to lower-ranking women, it’s consistent all the way up the corporate ladder where female executives continue to chip away at the glass ceiling.


(Photo Credit: auspices/Flickr)

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York unveiled three new facts about the disparity in executive compensation between the sexes:

1. Female executives receive less incentive pay than their male counterparts, which accounts for roughly 93 percent of the gender gap in total pay.

2. Compensation for female executives has “lower pay-performance sensitivity” as compared to males.

3. “Female executive compensation is more exposed to declines in firm value and less exposed to increases in firm value than that of males.”

The study concludes that female executives seem to be penalized when there are changes in a firm’s performance, while male executives are favored. Stefania Albanesi, a research officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a contributing author to said study, tells Bloomberg, “The sooner you get more transparency [in organizations], the better, because the disparities build year after year.” Easier said than done, especially when you have powerful male executives displaying their ignorance as Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, did at the Grace Hopper Conference last October.

“It’s not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” says Nadella to an audience full of women when asked for his advice for women who are uncomfortable asking for a raise, according to a CNBC article. He goes on to say, “And that I think might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma.” Oh, so women should just shut up and wait their turn. Duh. It makes total sense now, except for the fact that it totally doesn’t, Nadella.

It seems the buck doesn’t stop with females in the corporate world, this type of wage discrimination is prevalent (and now very public) in Hollywood, too. Take, for instance, the publicity and praise Charlize Theron received after she negotiated a $10 million raise to bring her salary par to her male co-star’s pay, which was revealed in leaked emails from Sony Pictures. Oops. And what about when The Great Sony Email Hack revealed that the leading ladies of American Hustle, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams – who, it’s worth noting, received more awards and accolades than any of their male co-starts combined – received 23 percent less pay than Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, and Jeremy Renner, according to The Washington Post. We’re not making this stuff up, people.

How can you help? First off, don’t be afraid to speak up about gender disparities, regardless of your gender. If you’re a working woman and feel you aren’t being paid what you’re worth, then do some homework to figure out what you should be making (use this salary calculator), bone up on your negotiation skills (use this guide), and go get ’em, tiger. It’s going to take a combination of open dialogue regarding the existence and realities of the gender wage gap, the willingness from organizations to make some changes to promote gender equality, and women to become more confident in their abilities, their successes, and, most importantly, themselves.

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