young female professional


As coveted as the top spot might be, not every CEO sticks around forever. And women are no exception.

The number of female CEOs stepping down from their positions of power seriously sped up in summer 2017: Marissa Mayer from Yahoo, Sheri McCoy from Avon and Irene Rosenfeld from Mondelez International Inc. The glass ceiling is slowly shattering, but keeping it shattered is proving to be no easy feat.

In honor of Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26, decided to take a look at how women’s severance is shaping up in comparison to men. We know that the gender wage gap is very real, and that women on average make less than their male peers, but is the trend reaching the ranks of corporate queens?

Data from S&P Global Market Intelligence reveals the estimated cost of getting rid of a CEO in two different scenarios—termination without cause, and termination because of change of control in the company. We took a look, and then broke that data down even further by gender.

Our analysis found that when there’s termination without cause within the S&P 500 companies on which we have data, the estimated average payout for women CEOs is $18,754,832, but for men CEOS, the estimated average payout jumps to $19,544,600.

But wait… there’s more.

For change in control, aka, when a company gets bought out, female CEOs raked in an estimated average of $36,569,330 through exit packages, while male CEOs scooped up less, at an estimated average of $30,145,718.

female ceos vs. male ceos


Why the disparity? Why are women and men compensated so differently, from day-to-day wages across an array of industries, to top-level exit packages for S&P 500 CEOs? To be transparent, the sample size of this analysis was small, because frankly, women make up a super slim portion of female CEOs. In the S&P 500, only 5.8 percent of CEO positions are held by women, and in the time span of half a century, only 64 CEOs in the Fortune 500 were female.

I’m truly not trying to put a damper on your Women’s Equality Day celebration, but, #facts.

Women’s Equality Day serves as the perfect opportunity to reflect on this discrepancy, and make personal goals to do your part in achieving gender parity, even if you’re not sitting at the top (yet!) of that really, really long corporate ladder.

Ask for that raise. Encourage your city to adopt legislation that gives job candidates a more equal playing field when it comes to pay. Be an advocate for your female co-workers. Don’t let the fate of your financial future fall victim to something as bogus as the gender wage gap.