NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Women Executives Earn Less

November 10, 1998

For years, reports have found a disparity in pay between men and women performing similar work. Now an analysis of the highest- paid corporate officers of Fortune 500 companies concludes that women executives receive a median of 68 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.

The study released yesterday by Catalyst, a women's research group in New York, examined the annual salaries and bonuses of 57 female senior officers and 1,772 males disclosed in 1997 corporate proxy statements. Among the study's findings:

  • The women received median cash compensation of $518,596, or 32 percent less than the men's $765,000.
  • The women's total included $306,250 in salary and $229,000 in bonuses, which was 27 percent and 29 percent less, respectively, than men.
  • The difference in median cash pay among male and female officers 50 years old or young is 21 percent, and can't be "explained fully by disparities in their number of years in the management pipeline."

The study partly blamed the gender pay gap on the fact that all but two of the Fortune 500 Chief Executive Officers are men, and CEOs typically receive the highest compensation. Yet even after excluding the highest-ranking executives, the earnings differential shrank just nine cents to 77 cents for women for each dollar of men's pay.

"The women on those lists ought to go ask for a raise," responds Kathleen Hudson, the $435,000-a-year president and CEO of Brady Corp., a midsize Milwaukee maker of industrial identification products.

Source: Joann S. Lublin, "Even Top Women Earn Less, New Study Finds," Wall Street Journal, November 10, 1998.


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