Equal pay for equal work has been the law of the land in the USA for my entire life. That legal expectation, however, has not translated into actual dollar per dollar gender equality. In fact, the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates women earn just $0.83 for every dollar men earn.
Since the Christian church holds equality of all persons as a core value, one should reasonably expect it would be a model of pay equality. Unfortunately, the pay gap for clergy is actually wider with female clergy earning only $0.76 for every dollar male clergy earn.
United Church of Christ Clergy
Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi – Director of the United Church of Christ’s Center for Analytics, Research, and Data – notes that it appears the UCC is doing a much better job than most denominations. Her preliminary data analysis finds
there is no statistically significant salary difference between full-time clergywomen and clergymen, with males earning an estimated average of $56,790.44 and females earning an estimated average of $54,791.28 (these figures include housing/parsonage allowance).
When the church claims to believe one thing, but models something else it is less than authentic and far from prophetic. Leadership at the denominational level for all denominations should welcome the new Bureau of Labor Statistics as a wake up call. If leaders in any denomination are aware of gender inequality in the pay of clergy or of those filling other roles and remains silent, then
- Are you more surprised to learn that on average female clergy in the US earn only $0.76 for every $1.00 male clergy earn or that within the United Church of Christ there is not a statistically significant difference in the pay of full-time clergy based on gender?
- What practical steps can you take to help champion equal pay for equal work within your church at the local and denominational levels?