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The gap

By Christine H. O’Toole, freelance writer, Heinz Endowment |

When Patricia Arquette used her Oscar acceptance speech to demand fair pay for women, it wasn’t just Hollywood stars who gave her a rousing ovation.

Television viewers saw actresses Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez cheering as Ms. Arquette declared, “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Some 2,400 miles away, women in Pittsburgh’s nonprofit sector applauded, too.

Recent analyses of the region’s nonprofits have revealed a significant pay gap between men and women executives. The studies include a report that Bob Orser and Rita Haronian of the Nonprofit Compensation Associates prepared for the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University. It shows that although 64 percent of executive directors at nonprofit agencies in the Pittsburgh region are women, their average pay was just 75 percent of the average salary for men — $101,475 compared to men’s $135,170. Overall, women’s nonprofit pay has stalled at 74 cents for every dollar earned by men, even as women comprise 74 percent of all employees in the sector.

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