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Highest paid female CEOs in America

For a long time, women have fought for equality, fought to be given the same jobs and pay as men. A few years ago it would have seemed impossible for a woman to be a CEO, as it wouldn't be deemed an appropriate job - in fact, in some countries women still struggle for equality and its down to individual companies to bring in legislation.

In Germany, women in Europe's largest economy on average earn 23.2 percent less than men. Yet Germany isn't alone in the equality issues, despite women making up almost 40 percent of the global workforce , the number of female CEO's across most industries remains low. Deutsche Telelekom, one of the country's biggest companies unveiled plans to fast-track more women into management roles in the company . By 2015, the company want 30 percent of its middle and upper management positions to be filled by women - the first gender quota to be implemented at one of Germany's top 30 DAX-listed companies.

So in Germany women are still facing a struggle, now what about America? In America, some of the most well known companies - the likes of Kraft Foods, Avon Products and PepsiCo have a woman at their helm, yet still, women account for only three percent of the chief executives at the helm of the 500 biggest US companies - that's only 15 female chief executives from a handful of industries including food, insurance and energy, Forbes report . So does this three percent of women have their pay matched to men?

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Female CEO pay in America

Irene Rosenfeld

Well, the woman who received the most compensation was Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft Foods who has brought home a total compensation of US$16.7 million of salary, bonus, stock and options.

Rosenfeld runs the largest US food manufacturer (US$52 billion market cap), and her compensation is on par with her male peers at other food companies such as Kellogg and General Mills.

The past year has been Rosenfelds' fourth as CEO of Kraft Foods, and probably her biggest year to date due to the hostile takeover of the British confectionary maker Cadbury , which has received much criticism and debate.

Rosenfeld may be lucky to be matched in with her male peers at other companies, but other CEOs who feature in this list aren't so lucky. PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi, who runs one of the leading US brand companies (US$105 billion market cap) has an annual compensation package that is worth half of her male counterpart at McDonald's. Nooyi has a compensation package worth US$10.7 million, whereas McDonald's boss James Skinner earns a package of US$20 million.

Lists like these show that women still aren't receiving the equality that has so long been fought for. The fact that only three percent of the top 500 companies in America have female CEOs is shocking, if America is like this, what's the rest of the world like?

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