Research suggests that in the most rarefied circles, women might actually earn more than men.
In 2017, the annual Equilar/Associated Press CEO Pay Study found that the median compensation for female CEOs was $13,093,444, and the average was $14,488,643. Meanwhile, male CEOs had a median compensation of $11,376,284 and an average of $12,648,010.
The study included S&P 500 companies that filed a proxy statement for the fiscal year 2016 and looked at median and average compensation of CEOs who had served in their same position for two consecutive, full fiscal years.
But of the 346 total CEOs included in the study, only 21 were female, compared to 325 males — it can be hard to draw meaningful conclusions from such a small sample size. As Fortune's Kristen Bellstrom writes, data like this can also give the false sense that "America's biggest corner offices are a haven for gender equity — which does not appear to be the case."
And when comparing the top paid female on the list with the top male, the difference is hard to ignore. The highest paid CEO on Equilar's list was Thomas Rutledge of Charter Communications, who earned total compensation of nearly $99 million. Meanwhile, the highest paid female CEO included in Equilar's study was Virginia Rometty of IBM, with compensation just a little over $32 million.