Tell me again why women make less than men?

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Still think the gender wage gap exists because of societal reasons rather than discrimination? Think again.

A few months ago, Sarah Mirk at The Mercury wrote about the Boston University report that showed that women's pay continued to lag behind men's, even with similar education, age, hours, and no kids. That last factor was the important one, for the naysayers who had previously suggested the wage gap could be explained by women's choice to stay home with the kids, leading to less job consistency.

Shortly thereafter, I started noticing an uptick in the organizations and individuals trying to explain away** the wage gap by now claiming that it existed because 'women are just happy to take jobs in lower-paying fields or sectors.' But a new report from GuideStar proves otherwise, without a doubt.

GuideStar, the national group that tracks philanthropic and nonprofit financial data by collecting, compiling, and analyzing IRS data, released their annual GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report earlier this month.

The data presented here is specific to the nonprofit sector because, simply, that is what GuideStar studies, but also because nonprofit organizations have some of the most rigorous transparency laws on the books. But the gender wage gap is certainly not a problem exclusive to nonprofit organizations; it is a far broader epidemic, reaching into nearly every sector and job type.

Included in GuideStar's report was an examination of factors that affect nonprofit sector CEO pay. The factors with the largest impact included gender, organizational size, program area, and geographical location.

Well, well, well... As it turns out, female CEOs are routinely paid less than their male counterparts, across the entire nonprofit sector, no matter the organizational size. In general, the smaller the organization, the smaller the compensation gap -- but do keep it mind a scale of relativity, as the smallest compensation gap in the nonprofit sector begins at 10.4%.

That means that while the typical male CEO of a nonprofit with a $500,000 budget might make $75K, a female CEO of a similarly budgeted nonprofit organization would make closer to $67K. For every male CEO making $5 million at an organization with a $50 million budget, the female CEO makes $3.75 million.

The report couldn't be any clearer: Same sector, same job title, same organizational budget, but females are compensated far less. This is not some mysterious societal occurrence. It is plain and simple discrimination.

** In fact, check out Wikipedia's leading paragraph (at least right now) on the Gender Pay Gap issue:

The gender pay gap (also known as gender wage gap) is the difference between male and female earnings expressed as a percentage of male earnings, according to the OECD. The European Commission defines it as the average difference between men’s and women’s hourly earnings. It is generally accepted that the majority of the wage gap is not due to explicit discrimination, but rather is due to differences in the choices made by each gender.

While Wikipedia's Everyone's-An-Expert style of editing leads to a Nothing's-To-Be-Trusted style of reading, the group-think behind the Wikipedia entry sure does reveal a lot. For one, that Wikipedia editors ought to check out this GuideStar report.

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