Joey Horn is the Managing Director of Oak Management AS in Oslo, Norway, and supports many charities with her philanthropic work. The 2016 Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women list featured a number of female leaders of philanthropic organisations. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – America’s largest philanthropic health care organisation – was at number 97; Margaret Chan was at number 38 for her work as Director General of the World Health Organisation; Helen Clark was at number 22 in her role as the leader of the United Nations Development Programme.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati ranked at number 37 in the 2016 100 Most Powerful Women list. However, she decided to leave her position as the Managing Director of the World Bank in July 2016. Industry professionals saw Indrawati’s step down as a sign of power, and she was praised for knowing when her term should conclude and therefore when to pass the torch to someone else. The role of MD of the World Bank was taken up by another female, Kristalina Georgieva.
Although another female superseded Indrawati, a large number of women in powerful roles are replaced with men. Female leaders leave their positions for many reasons; however, most frequently their decision is due to age and/or retirement, or term limits for the position. In the vast majority of cases, men take the helm, reclaiming positions of power within non-profit organisations from female leaders. Top positions at organisations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the World Food Programme and the Nobel Foundation – which were all previously held by women – have now been filled by male leaders.
One study found that even though 75% of the workforce in non-profit organisations is female, only 45% of CEOs are female, and research has also shown that as an organisation’s budget increases the likelihood of having a female leader decreases, with only 33% female representation in larger charitable groups with budgets over $10 million.
Catalyst, a non-profit that fights for greater diversity in the workplace, found that companies with more female representation financially outperform those with low female representation – yet despite the data, it is still difficult for women to obtain leadership roles. For those who do manage to reach the top of a philanthropic organisation it is commonplace for the female heads to be paid less than their male counterparts, with a report from GuideStar showing that male CEOs made 21% more than female CEOs in organisations with a budget of $50 million or more.