WASHINGTON -- Gender inequality is alive and well on K Street, Washington's notorious lobbying boulevard, according to a new report on CEO salaries issued Thursday by Bloomberg.
The report revealed that women CEOs at the top 50 most politically active trade lobbying groups earned on average only 68 cents for every $1.00 their male counterparts were paid in 2011. That number is even lower than the national salary gap, which stands at 72 cents for every dollar earned by men.
In an industry where CEOs regularly make more than $1 million a year representing the interests of big business on Capitol Hill, Bloomberg found that a whopping $600,000 gender gap existed between the men's and women's salaries, with the female CEOs making an average of $1.31 million a year, compared to $1.93 million for men.
"I bet they get paid less in the media too," said lobbyist Sam Geduldig of Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford. "What are you guys doing about that?"
Katie Vlietstra, president of Women in Government Relations and director of government affairs for the National Association for the Self-Employed, told K Street-focused newsletter Politico Influence that some lobby shops are simply richer than others, and in a town where men have long dominated, men are more likely to have valuable connections -- K Street's currency. But whatever the reason, it's wrong, she added. "They should be making the same amount of money -- they have the same skill set, they have the same access," she said.
The highest-paid man on Bloomberg's list, Edison Electric CEO Thomas Kuhn, made $6.81 million in 2011 to represent the interests of publicly traded electrical utility companies on Capitol Hill. The highest-paid woman, Pamela Bailey of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, earned $2.91 million, or less than half of Kuhn's take-home pay that same year.
The Bloomberg report also found that women are strikingly underrepresented in corner offices on K Street: There were just eight women among the top 50 CEOs, while 42 of them were men. Following an election last year in which women made historic gains, the ratio of women CEOs at K Street's top firms in 2011 -- just over 15 percent -- is lower than the share of women currently in Congress. Women hold 18 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives, and 20 percent of the U.S. Senate.
Bloomberg found similar results last year.
Ryan Grim contributed reporting