Though there are fewer women than men at the helm of major companies, female CEOs out-earned their male counterparts in six of the last seven years, according to an analysis from the Wall Street Journal.
The analysis, which focused on CEOs who had served for an entire year at S&P 500 companies, found that 21 female CEOs earned a median compensation package of $13.8 million last year. By comparison, 382 male CEOs earned a median compensation package of $11.6 million. Among the top-earning female CEOS were Hewlett Packard’s Meg Whitman ($35.6 million), IBM’s Ginni Rometty ($32.7 million) and PepsiCo‘s Indra Nooyi ($29.8 million). But the highest paid male CEO, Charter Communications’ Thomas Rutledge, brought home $98.5 million last year — over $60 million more than Whitman, the list’s top female earner.
The Journal attributed the trend to the fact that companies led by women outperformed companies led by men in three of the last five years and that “superstar women” usually land the corner office. “Boards don’t want to shortchange their female CEO in today’s environment, when pay equality is such an issue,’’ Robin Ferracone, who advises board compensation committees, told the Journal.
But there’s still a wide gap when it comes to how many women are actually being put in charge. The number of women leading S&P 500 companies has increased in recent years, hitting an all-time high in 2016. But women still only account for just over 5% of leaders of the country’s largest public companies. And a study published last year found that we’re still decades away from achieving gender equality in the office.