She doesn't live her life in the public eye or weep attractively on MTV, but Indra Nooyi is worth knowing about: She's the highest-paid female CEO in America. Ms. Nooyi, head of PepsiCo, took home a whopping $12.7 million (including $4.5 million in bonus pay) last year. It's serious cash, for sure. But it's one-fourteenth of how much Larry Ellison, head of Oracle, pulled in last year. His salary was a "modest" $1 million, but he had $182 million from vested stock options. A lesson: When you run one of the largest companies in the world, you don't make as much as the next guy… if you're a woman.Forbes reports (via MSNBC) that when calculating the cash pulled in by male CEOs of America's largest companies, the average take, including salary and bonuses, for all 500 CEOs was $12.8 million - double the female average of $6.5 million. But one of the most interesting things about Ms. Nooyi and some of the other top-earning female CEOs — Andrea Jung (Avon), Anne Mulcahy (Xerox), Christina Gold (Western Union) — is that you never really hear a damn thing about them. Or maybe you do. Maybe you read the business section and the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. But maybe there just aren't as many stories about Ms. Nooyi and other female CEOs? A Google search turns up 93,100 results for Indra Nooyi; Larry Ellison returns 1,280,000. Lauren Conrad? 2,520,000 (Even Audrina Patridge gets 599,000. Six times Ms. Nooyi's number.) It's not that a Google search proves your worth, or that all those hits make Lauren Conrad a worthwhile person. It's just a way of asking: Why, in our escapist, entertainment-addicted society, do we place so much importance on certain women, when there are other hard-working ladies struggling to keep up with men in global business, where it really counts? America's Highest Paid Female CEOs [MSNBC] Top-Returning Female CEOs (Slideshow) [Forbes]
Until the moldy oldies off of boards of directors, this is going to be the case, unfortunately. There are a lot of people that just cannot wrap their minds around the idea that a woman's work as worth as much as a man in the same position.
The good thing is, I have time on my side. Just a matter of time before all of those geezers die off and we can be rid of their outdated ways of thinking.