By Contributing Advisor: Dr. Carol Becker
Dr. Becker is an academic who studies business improvement districts. She completed the first comprehensive BID census and survey for the IDA back in 2010. Dr. Becker is co-authoring a book on women in downtown.
In 2010, I surveyed 203 business improvement districts large enough to have full-time staff on behalf of the International Downtown Association (IDA). Subsequent analysis of women and men in leadership positions found that 54% were headed by women and 46% by men. While it appears that men and women are hired about equally into BID management positions, the power conveyed from those hires are not equal, particularly when job title is taken into consideration.
My analysis found a subtle but pervasive difference between the title conveyed to men and women in the field. The title “President” or “President/CEO” carries more prestige – and subsequently pay – than those with the title “Executive Director.” Of 203 BID’s, 33% of men held the title of “President”, “CEO” or “President/CEO” while 14% of women did. Women more frequently held the lower prestige title of Executive Director, in comparison to while 51% of men with that title. As to even lower prestige titles, 7% of men and 3% of women held the title “Director” and 6% of women and 3% of men held the title “Manager.”
To what to we attribute these differences? And is this a cause for concern?