If the worst-kept secret on Capitol Hill is that top lobbying groups actually control the show, then the best-kept secret is that the whizzes behind the lobbying groups still look like Mad Men.
A new story from Bloomberg has revealed a disheartening pay gap between the men and women leaders who run the top Beltway trade associations.
Top lobbyist CEOs who are men took home an average of almost $2.5 million in compensation in 2010 while their female counterparts each made about $1.4 million. Crank that through a calculator and it comes out to about 57 cents earned by female chief executives compared to every dollar earned by the men.
“There should be no differential between male and female CEO pay. There isn’t an explanation for it, except sexism,” Paul Hodgson, senior research associate at GMI Ratings, a corporate consulting firm, told Bloomberg.
It seems the time is ripe to start a lobbying group called Better Beltway Pay For Female CEOs. Women are doing better everywhere else overall--in some cases much better. (Except notably on Wall Street, where men outearn women by a wider margin than in any other area of the economy.)
On average, women are making 81 cents on the dollar compared to men--and in some metropolitan hubs young women are even outearning men, according to Time magazine. That trend is expected to increase, with married women soon outearning their husbands, Time reports.
On Capitol Hill, it's not just the pay gap that is unequal for women--it's also representation. Out of the 30 top trade association CEOs on the Hill, only four are women, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, Congress is only doing slightly better. Seventeen U.S. senators are women. In the House of Representatives, 77 out of the 435 members of Congress are women. As a recent article from the Washington Post pointed out:
At a mere 16.8 percent of House membership, women’s representation in the United States’ national legislature last year ranked 78th in the world, tied with Turkmenistan, according to statistics compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
How do women fare in Fortune 500 companies? Headlines report that there are now a record number of women running the world's top business firms. Don't get too excited--that "record" is 18. That's a dismal 3 percent of CEOs who are women at Fortune 500 firms.
Even though corporate, political and other influential leaders are still overwhelmingly men, who really holds the purse strings?
Women control about two-thirds of annual spending in the United States, which adds up to $12 trillion, according to a recent study from Pershing, a large financial and business advisement firm.
Here's an infographic from Bloomberg that illustrates how much women lobbyists are paid.