In order for the nonprofit community to live up to our ideals of an equitable and just world, we need to be willing to examine our own practices and make necessary changes.
Equal pay for equal work. We’ve been at that simple concept for more than 100 years in this country, yet we still fall far short.
More than a half-century after the 1963 Equal Pay Act became the law of the land, women, on average, still earn less than men. The gap has lessened (in 1979, women’s median earnings were only 62% of men’s, by 2018 this had improved to 81%), but progress has slowed to a near standstill. And for most women of color, the gender wage gap (which was already wider than that for white non-Hispanic women) actually appears to be increasing.
We were curious to know if the gender wage gap persists in the nonprofit sector here in Palm Beach County. In a recent article published in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Nonprofits First staff members Todd L’Herrou and Adriene Tynes present research showing that after controlling for organizational size, female nonprofit executives in South Florida make on average 12% less than their male counterparts.
We have to do better. In order for the nonprofit community to live up to our ideals of an equitable and just world, we need to be willing to examine our own practices and make necessary changes. And if we want to retain talented leaders working on the most serious problems facing our community, we need to ensure they are paid a competitive wage that doesn’t vary based on their gender.
Nonprofit organizations are a major economic force in our community, employing nearly 30,000 people with total annual wages of almost $1.2 billion in Palm Beach County alone (see Florida Nonprofit Alliance’s website for more eye-opening info about the nonprofit sector in the Sunshine State).
Nonprofits First is committed to providing the resources, programs, and research needed to help these organizations achieve their highest level of community impact. Our accredited organizations receive an annual wage comparison chart to help boards understand how pay for their chief executive stacks up.
As we do our part, we call upon donors, funders, and board members across Palm Beach County to join us. Funders and donors, consider giving funding that can be used towards overhead to allow organizations to pay all employees an equitable wage. Board members, examine the compensation of your chief executive and their staff. Let’s make our community the example of fairness and equity that we know it can and should be.
JESSICA CECERE, WEST PALM BEACH
Editor’s note: Cecere is CEO of Nonprofits First.