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Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

JULY 14, 2005
4:44 PM

CONTACT: Business for Social Responsibility
Steve Heacock, Haverford College, 610-896-1039


Haverford College Economics Professor Linda Bell Explores Gender Pay Gap
Finds Women Executives Make 15-20% More in Women-Led Firms

HAVERFORD - July 14 - A comprehensive study of the gender pay gap and the role of women leaders on the careers of other executive women has found that women leaders are instrumental to the success of top executive women in quantifiable and significant ways.

The study, by Haverford College Economics Professor Linda Bell, reveals several important facts:

  • Women executives working in women-led firms earn between 15-20% more in total compensation than women working in other firms.
  • Overall, top women executives are paid between 8-25% less than male executives.
  • Women executives do better -- in relative compensation and numbers – in firms with a female CEO or Chair, especially if the female CEO is a member of the Board.
  • Women executives have relatively better compensation and representation among top management in firms with more female Board members.

"My research shows very strong empirical evidence that women leaders are associated with positive outcomes for women executives in substantive and important ways," said Professor Bell. "It seems a logical conclusion to infer that women leaders help the women below them. If equity for high-skilled and performing women is a policy goal, then the one obvious instrument is affirmative action at the very top of the corporate hierarchy."

Professor Bell's study merges the Standard & Poor's ExecuComp data for the years 1992-2003 with an independent data set from the Institutional Investor Research Center (IIRC) on Corporate Directors. Firms in the ExecuComp data constitute more than 80% of the total market capitalization of U.S. public companies. The data contains information on compensation and the individual components of compensation of the top five executives of all firms in the S&P 500, S&P Midcap 400, and S&P Smallcap 600. There are 25,529 unique executive observations and 2,194 unique firm observations over the 12-year period.

Professor Bell's research extends the work on the gender pay gap in top executive jobs in several ways. First, she studied the executive gender gap through 2003, thereby extending analysis to a period of greater participation of women executives generally and specifically at higher ranks. Second, because of the large sample size of firms and the tripled representation of women at high levels in later years, Professor Bell was able to test empirically the impact of women leaders on the careers of other executive women.

About Haverford College

Haverford College, located in Haverford, Pa., is a top coeducational liberal arts college. Haverford ( distinguishes itself by its unique combination of academic rigor, ethical principles, and integrative approach to learning.

It was founded in 1833 by members of the Religious Society of Friends(Quakers). While the College is not formally affiliated with any religious body today, the values of individual dignity, academic excellence, and tolerance upon which it was founded remain central to its character. Haverford's 1,200 students represent a wide variety of interests, backgrounds, and talents. They come from independent and public schools across the United States, Puerto Rico, and more than 20 countries around the world.


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