For those of you who are regular readers, you will know that I am a strong proponent of women in leadership roles. I was lucky to be born into a time where it is acceptable for women to take on and excel in leadership positions — women like Indra Nooyi, Lynn Elsenhans, Anne Mulcahy and Paula Rosput Reynolds demonstrate that success is possible. However, by many standards, the recognition of these women falls well short of that accorded to men in similar positions.
The ForbesLife Executive Women’s list of the highest-paid women in corporate America provides an interesting benchmark. Clearly, money is just one measurement — and for most executives, it is not the overriding factor in taking a leadership role. However, looking at the Forbes list, there are 100 women earning at least $3 million per year — which pales in comparison to the best-paid men in corporate America who pocketed at least $18 million.
Now, I agree, to the average person, these salaries appear astronomical. But it is important to remember that executive salaries set the benchmark by which all other pay scales are measured. Why, as a society, do we deem it acceptable for discrepancies of this magnitude to exist? They should no more exist at the executive level than they should at the intern level.
Judith H. Dobrzynski suggests that we need to herald the achievements of women leaders at the highest levels while also recognizing the work of women leading smaller firms and sizeable divisions of companies. Only by doing so, can we turn around the stereotyping that limits the opportunities open to women in corporate America. A good place to start is on the News on Women website. For while there is more work ahead of us, we are clearly not alone.
Nina Nets It Out: While great gains have been made by women in the corporate world, there is still a massive disparity between the earnings of women and men. Supporting and publicizing the success of women leaders at all levels is an essential part of transforming the workplace. Have you done your part today?