Reading Folio’s annual report on magazine salaries can be a depressing experience, especially for female journalists who find in the results confirmation of a persistent pay gap between male and female editors. But while this year’s numbers, released earlier this week, confirm that we still haven’t reached a point where men and women are getting the same salaries for the same job titles, there is some good news. Female editors in one category are finally catching up with men—and even pulling ahead of them.
In 2008, the average salary for men in the magazine business who held the title of editor or executive editor was $75,500, while the average pay for women in the same position was $56,400. But in 2012, that gap closed, with men making an average of $84,200, and women $85,700. And when looking at all magazine-editor categories combined, women’s salaries rose at a greater rate than men’s. Even if that bump is attributable to a few women taking on high-paying editing jobs at the top of the income spectrum, rather than to across-the-board gains, that’s still a sign that women are moving up the ladder to positions where they have more control as well as more money.
Gaps still remain, of course. Women who hold the title of managing or senior editor made an average of $58,200 in 2012, while men earned $63,600. And it gets worse higher up the masthead, where the average male editorial director or editor-in-chief was taking home $100,800 in 2012 to his female counterpart’s $85,100, a divide that’s actually bigger than the $11,600 that separated those averages in 2008.
Knowing that pay equality is getting closer isn’t the same thing as feeling sure that your paycheck matches the one belonging to the guy in the next cubicle over. Still, rather than being just a total bummer, Folio’s numbers this year are both cause for hope, and a reminder to keep on advocating for ourselves. It’s great to see lower-level salaries for female magazine editors rise. But we have to make sure that as we occupy more corner offices, we get the raises to go with the views.