Gender in the Nonprofit Sector


Many of us know that women have a huge presence in nonprofit organizations. They are seen in large quantities as staff and volunteers but do women hold leadership positions in nonprofit organizations?

According to an annual study from the White House Project, 73 percent of the workers in the nonprofit sector are women but men hold the majority of top leadership positions and receive higher salaries.

Let’s look at why women are drawn to the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits help people—your community, your peers or your family. Most people get a sense of intrinsic utility from this kind of profession. Nonprofit organizations are not as intimidating as their for-profit counterparts.

There is a more pleasant work environment and people may enjoy going to work more. The nonprofit sector also allows for greater flexibility of work hours and more part-time availability. It appeals to women’s feelings and emotions while allowing them more time to fit into their schedules.

So why wouldn’t nonprofits appeal to men as well? Most men do not even glance at the nonprofit sector because they do not think it is for them. There is a preconceived notion that a career in the nonprofit sector is not profitable. Many are the main breadwinners in their households and seek a high paying job in order to provide for their family.

But they are misguided in this assumption. In fact, CEOs of large nonprofit organizations can make a substantial amount of money. Men want to hold a position of power and dominance and think they can only do this by being a part of a large for-profit corporation.

Women want to work in the nonprofit sector and are successful in doing so. They are willing to put in the hard work and make sacrifices to support a cause. Why are these women, who have the passion and drive to work for nonprofits, not receiving the same pay as their male counterparts?

They may have the same skills and qualifications as males but female CEOs only earn about 66 percent of male salaries. This is only the case for 45 percent of chief executive within the sector, according to the report. Women are more likely to become CEOs of smaller nonprofits than larger ones.

The nonprofit sector needs to change and diversify itself. More women need to be represented in the top leadership positions of nonprofit organizations and more men need to get involved. Women need to be recognized for their talents and hard work in order to obtain these top leadership positions.

The world is changing and women continue to play an active role in nonprofit organizations. For men to enter the nonprofit sector they need to have passion and commitment for it. They need to be willing to make sacrifices, including possibly a slight decrease in pay. The nonprofit sector also needs to reduce the salary gap.

Women need to become better negotiators, take credit for their success and demand a better salary. The nonprofit sector continues to grow and with the combined efforts of men and women, it can be stronger than ever.

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