Look who’s talking 3: Non-profit edition

The month of August is such a glorious month to toss around statistics.   It’s hot, the days are long and the mind drifts.  Just when it’s too humid to turn the page of a book, there’s always the click of a mouse.  And from there, you can go anywhere.  With all modesty (aside), Your Working Girl finds the numbers she’s been churning out this month about women’s representation in the media frightfully interesting. Click here for a refresher.

Tsk, tsk is one of the more polite things she can say about it all.

After Simone de Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex in 1949, one would have thought things might be better in terms of women’s representation in the, shall we say, broader society.

Your Working Girl knows you know what statistics gathering and data mining is like. When you know little bit, you want to know more – it’s kind of like eating chocolate in that respect – or reading.   So, Your Working Girl has turned her eye on her own industry – the non-profit sector – and conducted more August research on the whole, technically speaking, woman thing.

The Labour Council of Canada tells us that 76% of the workers in the non-profit sector are women, compared to 47% of the overall labour force.

Yet in reviewing 20 of the largest Canadian charities including international NGOs, Health and Environmental organizations, and Hospital and Community Foundations, Your Working Girl found that:

  • 80% of CEOs were men
  • 72% of board members were men

Now, Gentle Reader, you must surely agree that in a sector where the workforce is 76% female, it must take some doing to have 80% of the paid leadership and 72% of the volunteer leadership male.

A closer look reveals more:

  • The international NGO sector shows parity is possible.  While 75% of iNGO CEOs are men, 48% of board members are women.
  • The Environmental sector showed the biggest gender gap with 100% of the CEOs being men, as well as 87% of board members, causing Your Working Girl to wonder if Mother Nature has signed off on her spokespeople.
  • Health, Hospital Foundation and Community Foundations combined have men as 75% their CEOs and men representing 67% of board members.

What can we take from this?  And what, as dear Oprah Winfrey says, do we know for sure?

Your Working Girl will take a shot at it.

  • If you are a woman attending a CEO meeting of 20 top charities in Canada, you would be among 4 women out of 20 people in that room.
  • If there was a meeting of all board members of Canada’s largest environmental organizations and you were a woman attending that meeting, you would be among 18 women out of 135 attendees.
  • The statistical likelihood of you becoming a CEO in one of Canada’s top 20 charities is 13 times greater if you are a man despite the fact that only 24% of the non-profit workforce are men. (Gentle Women Readers:  If you want to be the one to start the revolution, think about that the next time your very own Mr. Know it All regales assembled staff or board with everything he knows.)

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