Sisterhood Blog

The Jewish World's Pay Gap

By Naomi Zeveloff

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One of the most important components of the Forward’s annual Salary Survey — in which we research and publish compensation figures for the leaders of American Jewish organizations — is looking at gender disparity. In fact, as Jane Eisner, our editor-in-chief wrote in the Washington Post today, she got the idea for the survey after meeting with male leader after male leader when she first started at the Forward in 2008.

As in years past, the 2013 Salary Survey found that there are many fewer women than men running Jewish organizations. On top of that, female executives make less than their male counterparts. One reason for this is that some of them run smaller organizations that pay less. But as a first-ever analysis showed, even when controlling for organizational size, women still earn less — 81 percent of what men earn.

“On the one hand, this discrepancy matches the gender salary gap found in many other sectors of the national economy,” Eisner wrote in the Washington Post. “American Jewish not-for-profits, unfortunately, have plenty of company in this regard.” She continued:

But that’s no excuse, as far as I’m concerned. I think there’s still a residual patriarchy in our community that has kept smart, capable women from rising in our organizations. The old (male) guard won’t relinquish its outdated model of leadership; it has been slow to recognize and develop new talent, and slow to institute family-friendly policies that enable women, and men, to be dedicated to their careers.

Consider: There are more Jewish women on the U.S. Supreme Court (two) than have ever run a major U.S. Jewish federation (one.)

In other words, young women will find more examples of Jewish female role models if they look outside the Jewish world than within it. Is it any wonder that our community is losing its grip on its own youth?


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