SEX, MONEY AND POWER IN HUMANE WORK: WOMEN EXECS ARE FEWER, PAID LESS
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1999:
CULLOWHEE, N.C.––Ten years after
accusing the Massachusetts SPCA of genderbased
discrimination, Marjorie C. McMillan,
DVM, in July 1999 collected a $428,000 settlement:
$150,000 in back pay, plus interest.
Hired by the MSPCA as an animal
care technician while still a university undergraduate,
McMillan earned her veterinary
degree in 1974 and by 1989 was head of radiology
at Angell Memorial Hospital, the flagship
of the MSPCA chain of three animal hospitals
and eight regional shelters.
Then, as the only female among the
five Angell Memorial department heads,
McMillan learned that her salary was at least
$20,000 lower than the salaries of the others––
although, after 21 years on staff, she had
seniority over some of them. She complained
to the Massachusetts Commission Against
Discrimination. With that complaint pending,
she was fired in November 1991, for allegedly
not getting along with other personnel.
McMillan then filed suit, winning a
federal jury verdict in December 1995. The
jury awarded McMillan $787,621, including
$300,000 in punitive damages. The punitive
damages were set aside by the judge, who
agreed with the MSPCA that McMillan had
not proved she was fired in retaliation for her
discrimination complaint. Appeals affirmed
the verdict and the lesser award.
A Penn SPCA first
McMillan is now proprietor of the
Windhover Veterinary Center in Walpole,
Massachusetts, specializing in bird radiology.
The McMillan settlement followed a
quieter but even longer-coming milestone for
gender equality in humane work: the April 28
election of Paula Kielich as first female president
of the Pennsylvania SPCA, succeeding
Richard Elliott. Kielich, also president of the
Pals For Life visiting pet service for hospital
and nursing home patients, had served on the
Penn SPCA board since 1990, and had been
vice president since 1994.
The historical significance of
Kielich’s election is that women––including
cofounder Caroline Earle White––were
excluded from the board and executive posts
when the Pennsylvania SPCA was founded in
1869, as the second SPCA in the U.S.
Annoyed, White and other female
cofounders resigned in 1870 to form the
Women’s Humane Society. In 1872 WHS
became the first U.S. humane society to build
an animal shelter and take on a municipal animal
control contract. Continuing as president
of the WHS until her death in 1916, White
also cofounded the American Anti-Vivisection
Society and the Pennsylvania Society to
Protect Children from Cruelty.
Men on average earn 26% more than
women, according to U.S. Bureau of the
Census data. Male animal welfare executives,
however, are paid twice as much on average
as female counterparts, according to Western
Carolina University psychology professor
Harold Herzog and assistant researcher Lara
Ernest. Herzog and Ernest took their data
from the compensation chart in the December
1998 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE.
The chart was compiled from the
IRS Form 990 filings of more than 100 prominent
U.S. animal protection organizations. It
listed the five top-paid personnel of each organization,
if they made at least $50,000, and
listed all compensation paid to board members.
Herzog and Ernest focused on the
data from 33 organizations dedicated to “animal
welfare,” as traditionally defined, and 22
which they classified as dedicated to “animal
rights,” including antivivisection societies.
Female animal welfare executives
were paid $48,556 on average in 1998,
Herzog and Ernest found, with a median
salary-and-benefits package worth $38,798.
Male animal welfare executives made an average
of $101,679, with a median of $98,412.
The lower differential between the
average and median compensation paid to
males reflects greater consistency in how
much males are paid, with relatively few
males in the lower-paid executive positions.
Herzog and Ernest also found that
among the 164 total top-paid animal welfare
executives listed by ANIMAL PEOPLE,
Different in AR, AV
Herzog and Ernest found a considerably
different compensation structure among
animal rights and/or antivivisection groups.
Top-paid animal welfare executives, including
both males and females, made $85,000 on
average in 1998, they reported, or more than
twice as much as animal rights/antivivisection
executives, who made $40,000. Of the 41
top-paid animal rights and/or antivivisection
executives, the 18 women were actually paid
more than the 23 males: $42,790 on average,
with a median of $38,996. The males averaged
$37,346, with a median of $31,760.
The difference in pay structures,
Herzog speculated, “may partially be related
to the age of the organizations, coupled with
seniority-based executive compensation packages.
By and large, the animal rights and antivivisection
groups were formed more recently
than the old-line animal welfare groups.”
Male animal welfare executives tend
to have significantly longer tenure than either
female counterparts or the executives, male or
female, of animal rights and antivivisection
groups. In addition, the male-headed animal
welfare organizations tend to have much larger
revenues: none of the five richest groups in
either category had female chief executives as
of 1998, and only two of the top 10 did.
Analyzing statistics describing the
animal welfare and animal rights donor and
volunteer base, 1882-present, Herzog and
Ernest confirmed that about 75% of all animal
protection activists and donors are female, and
that this ratio has held steady from the beginnings
of the humane movement.
Female representation in leadership,
however, has risen from under 10% circa
1890 to about 50% today, including executives
who serve without compensation.
But males still hold 65% to 75% of
the most prominent leadership posts, Herzog
and Ernest discovered, with the variation due
to differing ways of defining “prominent.”
Looking further at gender differences
in animal protection involvement,
Herzog and Ernest found that about 92% of the
calls to a leading anti-dissection hotline since
1990 have come from female students.
“Part of this,” Herzog wrote, “may
be because the hotline is advertised in
S e v e n t e e n, which has an overwhelmingly
female readership.” But advertising in publications
oriented toward male teenagers only
increased the volume of crank calls.
Analysis of attitude studies, meanwhile,
found that male and female attitudes
toward animals, among the general public,
are only half of one standard deviation apart.
“The variation between the scores of
men and women is considerably less that the
variation within the genders,” Herzog noted.
The major difference, Herzog said, is that
“gender differences are magnified at the
extremes.” For example, a 1994 study found
that “Twice as many women as men strongly
oppose animal testing,” while twice as many
men as women strongly favor it.
Similar findings have emerged from
studies done in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and
12 European nations, stated Herzog. The
10%-20% difference in male and female attitudes
found among the general public translates
into a 300% difference among active participants
in animal protection, Herzog suggested,
because only people who feel especially
strongly about an issue tend to become
actively involved in addressing it.
By implication, the converse effect
would explain why more than 95% of hunters
and trappers and 80% of persons convicted of
cruelty to animals are male, as only thosee
who care least about preventing animal suffering
would be likely to intentionally inflict it.