Nonprofit Gender Pay Gap Wider in Central Mass. vs. Statewide

February 18, 2019 — Women executives at prominent nonprofits in central Massachusetts, on average, earned less than two-thirds what their male counterparts earned last year, according to a newly completed analysis released today, a gender pay gap that is wider compared to the state overall.

Women executives at 13 social service nonprofits last year were paid an average of $159,559 in 2018, just 64% of the average $251,084 paid to men at 21 similar organizations in central Massachusetts, the Worcester Business Journal (WBJ) reported.

A survey completed in 2017 by TSNE MissionWorks (TSNE), a Boston-based nonprofit that provides management resources to other nonprofits, found that found that women executive director/CEOs at nonprofits in southern New England receive 75% of the average annual pay that men receive, $119,622 vs. $158,649.

That compared to a 2014 TSNE report which found that female nonprofit leaders in Massachusetts received 76% of the average annual pay earned by their male counterparts ”“ $106,627 vs. $139,506 per year.

When it comes to higher education, female executives at 35 institutions in central Massachusetts last year were paid an average of $234,521, 80% of the $292,914 men earned at 47 organizations, according to the WBJ analysis.

The gap widened for health care: women at 13 entities earned an average of $285,477, 54% of the average $532,199 that men earned in central Massachusetts in 2018.

Lauren Stiller Rikleen, president of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership and a former trustee at Clark University in Worcester, quoted by WBJ, said, the wide central Massachusetts gender gap isn't unusual, but "it should always be shocking to see this level of differential."

The U.S. Census last reported that women working full-time, year-round made a median of 81% of what men earned.

The highest paid woman working in the social services-nonprofit sector in central Massachusetts last year was Kathryn Hunter, executive director of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, based in Worcester, which serves 70 area cities and towns, who reportedly earned $239,048.

That compared to the highest paid man in the social services-nonprofit sector in central Massachusetts: David Jordan, president of Seven Hills Foundation, a Worcester-based provider of clinical, educational, and behavioral health services, who reportedly was paid $769,995 paid in 2018.

Last July, a gender pay equity law went into effect in Massachusetts. Under the new law, several factors, including training and seniority, may allow employers to pay comparable employees at different levels.

Last week, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) agreed to settle a case, in what was believed to be the first lawsuit under the state's new equity pay law, brought by its principal flutist, a woman who claimed she was paid significantly less than a male colleague doing comparable work.