While there have been strides in corporate representation to the point that women now make up around a quarter of all S&P 500 (^IN) top executives, that progress is not trickling down into share ownership.
In an interview with Bloomberg, University of Dublin professor Andreas Hoepner said that male executives control over $770 billion worth of shares in their S&P 500 companies while female executives have only $9 billion.
Men Have *How Much* More?
This means, as Hoepner found in a study done with Swedish gender data firm ExecuShe, that female executives control only 1% of S&500 shares.
“We found a giant gender power gap,” Hoepner told Bloomberg.
The study looked at 682 companies in the S&500 and the Fortune 500 and found that women are top executives at 47 of them, up from 44 last year and on an overall upward trend from the last five years.
Outliers like Musk aside, the study hints at several reasons for such a wide disparity. Overall salary is one — while women in the United States earn 83 cents for every man’s dollar, the gap widens to 75 cents for top executives.
Another reason has to do that women at S&500 are statistically more likely to be departments in departments like human resources and marketing, which traditionally have lower salaries than roles like CFO or COO.
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So What Are We Going To Do About This?
While stats like this can be difficult for average people to relate to given that the salary of any S&P 500 executive is so disproportionate to the average population, these types of gender inequities trickle down into every income bracket.
In the United States, women earn a median of $43,394 a year in 2019 while the median man earned $53,544.
41% of women and 36% of men surveyed worried about being unprepared for retirement while 50% of men and 37% of women said they had stock or stock-related investments.
“This is the impact of women not making as much money as men,” Zaneilia Harris, president of Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group, told Bankrate as part of the study.
“And when you don’t bring home enough income that you feel can sustain your family, that’s a stress point.”
Often, it can be particularly bad at extreme ends — when the company is on the smaller side and less closely tracked and when execs are so wealthy that they skew the rest of the data.
“The more bespoke a situation is, the more opportunity for bias because that’s where the inequity creeps in and you see a lot of inconsistencies in equity,” Susan Alban, the head of people at Renegade Partners, told Protocol