All but one of the 100 local municipal employees who earned six figures in 2014 were men. Reading Managing Director Carole Snyder was the only woman to make the top 100.
“I’m not surprised by that because it reflects what goes on in the corporate world too,” said Jennie Sweet-Cushman, assistant director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University.
The trend is that women hold most middle-management positions but are under-represented in top jobs, she said. Having more women at the helm in public administration adds a different perspective.
“If you’re dealing with community decisions you think in terms of: How does this accommodate women with young children? How does this accommodate people caring for elderly relatives?” Sweet-Cushman said.
Contributing to the gap locally: 90 of the top 100 municipal earners worked for police departments.
A 2014 survey by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nationally, women make up only 12.4 of patrol officers, 15.9 percent of supervising officers and 21 percent of criminal investigators.
Nationally, there has been a focus on the gender skew in police forces as advocates look to close the pay gap between men and women.
A 2012 report by the White House’s Equal Pay Task Force identified occupational segregation — a system of “men’s jobs” that pay more than “women’s jobs” — as a major driver of pay differences.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the Pennsylvania State Police, alleging its fitness test is skewed in favor of male applicants. The state is fighting the suit, saying its test is not biased and that the claims are based on faulty logic.
Research by the National Center for Women & Policing, which advocates for more women in law enforcement, found that gender-biased recruiting and hiring practices contribute to the underrepresentation of women. Efforts to recruit women often are stymied by harassment or discrimination female officers can face, the group says.