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Equal pay: how does the Episcopal Church measure up?

Equal pay: how does the Episcopal Church measure up?

April 14, 2015 is Equal Pay Day. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity,

Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages.

A Tuesday in April is selected to represent how far into the new year a women must earn to equal their male counterparts’ earnings in the previous year. Find more about Equal Pay Day here.

We were curious how the Episcopal Church measured up in terms of the gender pay gap. The latest report from the Church Pension Group on clergy compensation was published in September 2014 and uses data from 2013 to compare compensation across geographical regions, by age, and by gender. The full report makes for fascinating reading. Tables 3 and 4 of the report break the numbers down by gender. Our own John Chilton has provided illustrations of how the numbers measure up:

Table 3
All Clergy
Gender Median Number %
Male $76,981 3333 64%
Female $66,709 1856 36%
Total $73,000 5189 100%
F/M $0.87
Gender Median Number %
Male $105,000 567 80%
Female $91,069 140 20%
Total $102,000 707 100%
F/M $0.87
Solo  Median  Number  %
Male $72,419 1,929 66%
Female $65,660 1,013 34%
Total $70,212 2,942 100%
F/M $0.91
Associates, Assistants and Curates
Male $64,698 388 47%
Female $60,047 432 53%
Total $62,005 820 100%
F/M $0.93
Specialist Ministers  Median  Numbers  %
Male $77,992 354 58%
Female $72,810 260 42%
Total $75,240 614 100%
F/M $0.93
Table 4
1 to 5 years $60,636
5 to 10  years $72,040
10 to 20 years $80,550
20 years plus $90,962
Total $76,981
1 to 5 years $55,978
5 to 10 years $64,370
10 to 20 years $73,044
20 years plus $79,568
Total $66,709    
1 to 5 years $0.92    
5 to 10  years $0.89    
10 to 20 years $0.91    
20 years plus $0.87    
Total $0.87

The highlighted number offer a cents to dollars comparison of female/male compensation. Data from the 2008 census places women’s wages at 77c of each dollar earned by men. How do you think the Episcopal Church measures up?

Posted by Rosalind Hughes


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Emily Wachner

As an ordained woman in my second position / sixth year of ordained ministry, I support the idea of sharing individual salary / benefits data, especially within mixed-gender peer groups. I know the practice is taboo, but especially for ordained women entering their first or second job, this has been helpful for some friends to know what to ask for, how much to negotiate, etc. I wonder if seminaries (or the CPG?) would consider collecting and sharing that data for each recently graduated class, broken down by gender and province. While I agree to some extent that this is a problem for ‘haves’ to discuss and help resolve, I also think transparency (on everyone’s part) and mutual empowerment (teaching women to negotiate, for example) will go a long way as well. Information is power.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Is part of the problem that there are many more male bishops and men tend to lead the largest parishes? These are done by election, right? So a big part of the problem is at the level of the laity, correct?

These numbers are unacceptable. I’d surely like to see the inequalities addressed. To me, it appears that an education campaign is needed. Meanwhile, lots of parishes can’t pay the minimums to clergy of any gender…

Jerald Liko

Very disappointing numbers. What upsets me more than raw salary figures, though, is the gap between “all clergy” (36% women) and “senior” clergy (20% women). I am deeply troubled by the pattern in the church under which women are delegated to assistant or associate roles while men dominate rector or other priest-in-charge positions.

I hope and pray that we will be able to change our practice to match our ideals of gender equality in future years.

Joie Weiher

Huh. I commented (4th comment?). I would love to see this information broken down by diocese or province. There are places where similar experience (or even more experience, better experience, and longer hours) still results in the female cleric being compensated TENS of thousands below male counterparts.

Laura Eberly

When the first several responses to this data are from men expressing disbelief rather than outrage, women move on to other conversations. Of course individual congregations make choices about hiring and salary based on their needs and abilities. Is it so impossible to believe that they also do so based on deeply ingrained prejudices evidenced in every other sector of our society and economy? Invest all that careful critique in figuring out how to change the status quo, rather than how to defend it.

A female postulant

John Chilton

Yes. Whether it’s the first several comments of some men expressing disbelief, or the predictability that some men will join the comment thread later to express disbelief, you have good reason to not share your story in this forum.

The question, for me, is how do we get past this point. A start would be for men to listen rather than immediately coming up with arguments that the gap is not real.

Although it’s about black|white rather than female|male, I find this discussion of what poisons a conversation helpful.

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