Men vs Women in the Non-Profit Field, and Other Topics

I had an interesting situation occur to me. I was planning to write a blog post about men versus women in the nonprofit world, and right before I was about to publish it, I read an article in eJewish Philanthropy entitled “Gender Equality in the Jewish Nonprofit? Progress Being Made” ( by Maayan Jaffe. 
There are many things that still need work in terms of the gender divide in the nonprofit world. Take the wage gap, for example. “In 2000, Eve Nagy pointed out that women in top Jewish communal leadership roles earn as much as $20,000 less than their male counterparts – a statistic that has not nudged. In 2010, Dvora Meyers that female Jewish communal professionals earn $28,000 less than men working in the field … and that is even if women can get to the top spot. Within the Jewish Federation system, for example, women account for only 9 percent of the top leadership at major Jewish federations, according to Rebecca Dinar, managing director of communications and media relations for JFNA. And this is despite women comprising 70 to 80 percent of the federation workforce.” 

According to Naomi Adler, the head of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, “women also have to do their due diligence by making themselves well-rounded by pushing themselves into lay or professional roles that offer a combination of relationship building, fundraising and programmatic experience.” THIS I ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH! “Lean In”, ladies!! 🙂 

On another note, Shifra Bronznick, a feminist activist who focuses largely on Jewish women’s rights and organizational life, writes that: “It is very easy to get thrown off the island when you criticize donors, organizational leaders or institutional choices. Lack of dialogue is not healthy for a community that needs to make profound decisions about its future,” she said. Bronznick continued: “This is not just about women. There is a link between what is good for women and what is good for everyone, a link between advancing gender equity and what we will need to sustain a healthy, vital Jewish community.” This is a bit of a side point, but it is generally a very tricky issue. I think there needs to be a greater amount of give and take in organizations. Many times I have seen donors/board members who do not want to have their opinions challenged/do not respect the professional’s expertise. How can we make donors/board members more open to constructive criticism? 

Additionally, how can we facilitate more of a dialogue between nonprofit employees of different “ranks”? Of course seniority should be respected, but in certain instances, the younger generation may offer an area of expertise, such as social media marketing. I also read a very interesting article (I did not save the link; sorry!) about the differences between the “Millennials” and “Generation X” (especially interesting for me, because I am “Generation Y”! 🙂 ). According to research, Generation X employees tend to be very “by the book”, following company rules and procedure without questioning them. The Millenials are not afraid to question the rationale behind decisions made by their superiors. They also are not bound to the company procedures. They may approach their managers often and ask for feedback, not waiting for their annual review. Again, this is an aside, but these are important facts that managers should understand when dealing with their younger staff members.

But back to the ladies …. What do you think? Are there other factors contributing to the fact that there are much less women in top management roles? Any factors specific to the nonprofit field?

I look forward to your comments.


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