07 Feb 2024

Crucial Employment Terms for Female Executives

These examples of employment terms for female executives to include in their agreements are examples. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a local attorney.

crucial employment terms for female executives

Women face many challenges on the climb up the corporate ladder. If you are about to shatter the glass ceiling and reach a senior executive or a C-suite position, congratulations!

Your next challenge is to survive, thrive, and receive the same awards your male coworkers might. Unfortunately, female executives face a great deal of challenges: 

  • Limitations on compensation and promotions
  • Gender discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Hostile work environments
  • Work-life balance

While a job offer cannot prevent all of the above, there are some essential employment terms for female executives. With the proper representation, you can craft an executive employment agreement that addresses some of the core issues women face. 

  • Equal pay
  • Work-life balance
  • Severance protections 
  • Change of control
  • Gender discrimination 
  • Termination

Equal Pay

Female executives and CEOs often receive lower compensation and benefits offers, even at the same level as a male counterpart. 

If this happens, you and your attorney can negotiate for an appropriate base salary, bonus, and equity. Undoubtedly, you are familiar with negotiations at this point. Put those skills to work for yourself instead of the company. 

Additionally, an expert can help you structure your compensation package to maximize your total compensation. Consider merit terms and tax-favored equity. If successful, you can receive a reward on the level if not higher than a male executive. 

Work-Life Balance

Women CEOs and senior executives may face different issues from men. While they should not, these tend to concern maternity, child care, and family. 

No one expects men to choose their jobs over their families. Nor should they expect that of you. 

In negotiating employment terms for female executives, include key terms to cover family vacations, maternity leave, child care, and working hours. If the company fails to meet its commitment, it can trigger an exit and severance in your favor. 

woman executive facing work-life-balance issues

Severance Protections

If the company lacks prior female leadership at the executive level, negotiate for critical downward protections. These terms can make you whole with severance if the company stands in the way of your success. 

Moreover, these terms can provide clarity on your authority and role. The severance terms trigger not only if you are fired without cause but if the company does not live up to its side of the agreement. 

Change of Control 

Some women in a C-suite position face issues where the company takes advantage of them in a “change of control” circumstance. This can happen after onboarding or after a length of time. 

In this instance, a male chairman of CEO may elect to take better care of male executives than female. He might believe that they are willing to accept these terms without question. This can even happen when female executives have proven critical to the company’s success. 

If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s a good idea to seek expert counsel. Having an advocate on your side can counteract those who work to diminish the importance of your accomplishments or your role. 

Then, you can leverage your past success to ensure you fully participate in the benefits your male counterparts receive. When you are equally important, you deserve equal treatment. 

Gender Discrimination, Harassment, & Termination

Despite your achievements, you may face skepticism from others. Typically, women are held to a higher standard than men in executive and C-suite positions. 

Unfortunately, female executives also face harassment and hostile work environments. Some even find themselves in humiliating situations. 

Then, the deck may be stacked against them. They may find that the victim receives the punishment that the perpetrators deserve. In some cases, the woman executive is terminated to “restore order” to the team. 

woman executive faces gender discrimination in the workplace

The unfortunate reality is that this happens far too often – despite excellent results and careers. Female executives and CEOs receive notice of termination, face egregious demands from the company, or have to undergo a “performance plan.”

State and federal laws bar gender discrimination at work. They also prohibit employers from permitting a hostile work environment to foster. There are high standards of success in these cases, but success is possible. 

Additionally, you can partner with an executive employment attorney. Your representation can draft a letter to your employer citing your accomplishments, any instance of discrimination, evidence of your hostile work environment, and evidence highlighting that termination or the threat thereof is based on pretext rather than inferior performance. 

These letters and the negotiations that follow can help you achieve a certain level of vindication. 

Including Essential Employment Terms for Female Executives

Until the law makes the contract terms above redundant, it is crucial to include such employment terms for female executives. The above are simply examples, and your situation may call for additional terms. Whether in hiring, change of control, or a severance agreement, these terms serve to protect you. 

Moreover, they can provide a level of comfort throughout your employment that may pale in comparison to remedies in a court case. If you work with an employment attorney during your contract negotiations, you can set yourself up for success and the treatment you deserve. 

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