A substantial difference continues to exist between men’s and women’s median weekly earnings without doubt. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that women ages 25 to 34 earned 86.9 percent of what their male counterparts earned on a weekly basis in 2007. Worse yet, women ages 45 to 54 earned a mere 74.5 percent of men their same age. There is some good news in these numbers. Women have narrowed the difference each year since 1979, the first year this type of data was kept by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Two explanations are commonly accredited for the difference in pay. First, women earn less than male counterparts in the same position. Studies abound recording the generalized negotiation tactics of males and females. Females are less likely to ask for higher pay or better benefits during their careers than men in the same role. Second, women often experience gender discrimination in the workplace. Boards of directors and executive teams will sometimes overlook women when searching for positions traditionally held by males.
October is Women’s History Month, Women’s Leadership Month and Women’s Small Business Month. NuWire is paying homage to progress towards equality in pay and boardrooms across the country.
Goodbye, good ol’ boys club
Everyone knows the term and may be privy to a local group of these gentlemen who run the majority of businesses in the United States. Kudos to the women who have knocked down doors to those boardrooms and made their presence known.
While only 12 or so Fortune 500 companies are led by women this year, in the Northwest area of the country progress in small businesses significant. The financial sector is well known for its male-dominated executive teams, but women are finally receiving recognition for their knowledge and abilities. Women are leaders of the pack, filling the roles of chief executive officers, presidents and chief financial officers of banks and their holding companies.
These ladies of distinction deserve special recognition for leading the way to a future that defies stereotypes:
- Lark Wysham, executive vice president & CFO, Citizens Bank & Trust (Corvallis, Ore.)
- Ann Marie Mehlum, president & CEO, Summit Bank (Eugene, Ore.)
- Patricia Moss, president & CEO, Bank of the Cascades (Bend, Ore.)
- Cheri Folk, president & CEO, plus an entire team of female corporate officers, Bank of Astoria (Astoria, Ore.)
- Staci Coburn, corporate vice president & CFO, Columbia River Bank (The Dalles, Ore.)
- Megan Clubb, president & CEO, Baker Boyer Bank (Walla Walla, Wash.)
- Karen Fornshell, president & CEO, and Sue Campo, CFO, Northwest Bank (Lake Oswego, Ore.)
- Felice Belfiore, CFO, Capital Pacific Bank (Portland)
- And the icing on the cake, the Oregon Bankers Association is led by Linda Navarro, president & CEO, in Salem, Ore.
Hello, leading ladies
According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, “As of 2008, the Center projects that the 10.1 million women-owned firms, that are 50 percent or more women owned, employ 13 million people and generate nearly $2 trillion in annual revenues.” Let’s break that down: 10.1 million women own the majority of a business—that’s equal to the number of residents in the state of Michigan. These women hire upwards of 13 million people, the equivalent of Ecuador’s population. Their companies produce $2 trillion per year, the same amount of money estimated that American’s have lost in their retirement accounts in the last 15 months or the latest amount needed to bailout the United States economy. That makes Michigan state solely populated by female business owners, employing every person in Ecuador and producing enough money to restore every retirement account back to its profitable level.
To women across the nation, congratulations on changing the trends, improving the statistics and making life better for daughters everywhere.