Carpe Diem

Gender wage gap at the White House: Female staffers are paid only 88 cents for every dollar paid to men

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Last month, President Obama proclaimed August 26, 2013, as Women’s Equality Day and called upon Americans to celebrate the achievements of women and promote gender equality, here’s an excerpt of his presidential proclamation:

From the beginning, my Administration has been committed to advancing the historic march toward gender equality. We have fought for equal pay, prohibited gender discrimination in America’s healthcare system, and established the White House Council on Women and Girls, which works to ensure fair treatment in all matters of public policy.

Yet we have more work to do. A fair deal for women is essential to a thriving middle class, but while women graduate college at higher rates than men, they still make less money after graduation and often have fewer opportunities to enter well-paid occupations or receive promotions. On average, women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. That is why the first bill I signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It is also why I established the National Equal Pay Task Force, which is cracking down on equal pay violations at a record rate. And it is why I issued a Presidential Memorandum calling for a Government-wide strategy to close any gender pay gap within the Federal workforce. To build on this work, I will continue to urge the Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and give women more tools to challenge unequal wages. My Administration will also continue our campaign to engage women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers, and we will broaden our efforts to empower women and girls around the world.

As we reflect with pride on decades of progress toward gender equality, we must also resolve to make progress in our time. Today, we honor the pioneers of women’s equality by doing our part to realize that great American dream — the dream of a Nation where all things are possible for all people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 26, 2013, as Women’s Equality Day. I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate the achievements of women and promote gender equality in our country.

MP: I hereby call upon President Obama to promote gender equality by addressing a serious gender wage gap for women working on his staff at the White House. According to an analysis of salary data from the “2013 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff,” the 229 female employees in the Obama White House are being paid a median annual salary of $65,000, compared to a median annual salary of nearly $74,000 for the 229 male White House staffers (see chart above). In other words, females working in the Obama White House are paid only 88 cents for every dollar paid to male staffers, and there is therefore a significant White House “gender pay gap” of 12%. 

Because women working at Obama’s White House earn less than men on average, they must unfortunately work much longer for the same amount of pay. Female White House staffers will have to work about 8 additional weeks into 2014 on average to earn the same income that the average man earned working at White House in 2013. In the tradition of the National Committee on Pay Equity (and endorsed by President Obama in this Presidential Proclamation) I hereby proclaim that the next White House Equal Pay Day will take place on about February 20, 2014. That date symbolizes how far into the year 2014 female White House staffers will have to work to earn what their male counterparts earned in 2013. By creating the White House Equal Pay Day, we can recognize the injustice of the gender wage gap at the White House by marking how far into each new year female White House staffers have to work just to make what men did in the previous one.

As President Obama reminds us, “we have more work to do” on the historic march toward full gender equality. Addressing and closing the significant gender wage gap of more than 13% at the White House might be a good place for the President to start some of that unfinished work.

45 thoughts on “Gender wage gap at the White House: Female staffers are paid only 88 cents for every dollar paid to men

  1. “Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to men.”

    Maybe, female staffers work less than 87 hours for every 100 hours worked by men.

    • The White House reports annual salaries for employees, which are likely paid regardless of the exact number of hours worked. Oh, and are we supposed to control for factors like hours worked? All we ever hear from Obama and the feminists is that women earn 77 cents on AVERAGE for every dollar paid to men, ON AVERAGE.

  2. “Female White House staffers will have to work about 8 additional weeks into 2014 on average to earn the same income that the average man earned working at White House in 2013.”

    I hereby call on the White House to close their gender pay gap, by having the female staffers work those additional eight weeks — which could eliminate the hours worked gap.

    • Yes, they can work those additional hours between having babies, breast feeding, and changing diapers.

      And, you wonder why women think there’s sexism.

      • Mr. Trader, you missed the point. See Professor Perry’s comment on your comment about controlling factors, like hours worked not being mentioned in the pay gap narrative by the president.

  3. oh come now.

    if we require our politicians to cease being inconsistent, self serving hypocrites, we’ll soon have no politicians at all.

    actually, that sounds pretty nice…

  4. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act changed the statue of limitations to what Congress had thought it was before the Supremes suggested they read the law they passed.

    • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits wage disparity between men and women who work in the same place and perform jobs that require substantially the same “skill, effort, and responsibility.” The statute of limitations for filing suit is two or three years, depending on whether the discriminatory act is intentional.

      Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers discriminatory hiring, firing and promotions as well as pay. It requires filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days after an intentional discriminatory act. …

      Ms. Ledbetter began working for Goodyear in 1979. Upon her retirement in 1998 she sued under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. The magistrate judge determined that both claims should be dismissed because Goodyear demonstrated that the pay disparity came about because of her “consistently weak performance, not sex.” In 2002, the Alabama federal district court reinstated only the Title VII action, and the case went to trial in 2003.

      Her evidence of discrimination turned mainly on one male supervisor’s alleged misconduct. She claimed that the discriminatory acts against her occurred in the early 1980s and the mid-1990s when she rejected his sexual advances, received poor performance reports, and was denied appropriate pay raises. By the time of her trial, the supervisor was dead. …” — WSJ

    • Hmmm. 13 cents. Your point is?

      I believe his point is that the guy who calls for equal pay for women doesn’t apply that equal pay to his own White House staff.

      Can you say *hypocrite*?

  5. The Obama reelection campaign’s female employees earned an average of $6,872 during that period, compared with an average of $7,235 for male employees. That is a difference of $363, or 5.3 percent. The annualized pay difference is more than $2,100 per year.” — Washington Free Beacon

    At least he’s consistent.

  6. 1. …a median annual salary of $65,000, compared to a median annual salary of nearly $75,000
    2. Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to men.

    I don’t think that 2 can be deduced from 1…

    • 1. …a median annual salary of $65,000, compared to a median annual salary of nearly $75,000
      2. Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to men.

      I don’t think that 2 can be deduced from 1…

      2. Female staffers earning the median salary for women, which is $65k are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to men earning the median salary for men, which is $75k.

      How’s that?

          • just pointing on a small irregularity
            I’m not saying that statistics WAS abused in this case,
            but there was a fact about median values and conclusion which sounds like a statement about average values. It’s easy to give an example for which the conclusion interpreted as related to the averages will be wrong.

          • Just pointing on a small irregularity
            I’m not saying that statistics WAS abused in this case,
            but there was a fact about median values and conclusion “…which sounds like a statement about average values.

            Hmm. Are you sure anyone but you read anything about averages into those statements?

            It’s easy to give an example for which the conclusion interpreted as related to the averages will be wrong.

            Yes, median isn’t the same as average. But in this case, the conclusion seemed pretty unambiguous.
            .

          • Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to men.

            what do YOU think when you read this?
            I think that [all] females are paid [on average] 87% of [all] males. I can’t see how to read it differently, assuming that there IS some useful message in this phrase.

            do you want me to read it as: [some] Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to [some] men :-)

          • Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to men.

            what do YOU think when you read this?

            When I read that as #2 right after your #1 above that referred to median pay for men and women I assume that #2 must refer to median pay also.

            I think that [all] females are paid [on average] 87% of [all] males. I can’t see how to read it differently.

            I think that the median pay for females is 87% of the median pay for men. males. I can’t see how to read it differently without trying to make something of it that isn’t there.

            Your conclusion that “#2 can’t be deduced from #1″ is only true for you because you insert the word “average” in a statement where it doesn’t belong, and isn’t intended.

            Assuming that there IS some useful message in this phrase.

            It’s only useful as an indicator that the POTUS is a lying hypocrite. Sort of like that algore guy.

            do you want me to read it as: [some] Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to [some] men

            I don’t want you to do anything except stop complaining about something that only you think is a problem.

            do you want me to read it as: [some] Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to [some] men

          • please, let’s clarify:

            you read the phrase “Female staffers are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar paid to men.”

            and

            you “think that the median pay for females is 87% of the median pay for men”.

            without any additional information.

            in this case there is no issue.

          • one of us acts stupid, and, yes, it can be me.
            why don’t just answer a simple question I asked?

            again, my point was that the post title was “sexed”,
            just like the first graph in the post about jobless claims.
            if you state that most of the readers should read “median” in the title (without reading the article) – I accept it and agree that I was wrong.

          • efim

            You have lost track of your own narrative. you will need to do better than this to be taken seriously.

          • No, I did not lost the track.
            I always stated that the title and actual data say somewhat different things.
            Which may be wrong, maybe everyone but me will assume “median salary” while reading the title. And I asked a you simple question – did you get “median salary” immediately when you read the just the title? But you keep avoiding answering it for some reason.

          • Cit

            Ron, Eflm can’t help but repeat the lefty narrative in any form possible it looks like.

            Even worse, he won’t let go of it when he knows he’s wrong.

  7. What isn’t stated is if the male and female Whitehouse employees doing the same job get paid the same. There could be a lot of lower level female staffers bringing the median down. Or a lot of male staffers with higher level jobs. That information is not presented so therefore the conclusion is not informative.

    • I think that’s part of the question. Why would there be more women in lower paying jobs or more men in higher paying jobs? Is it due to discrimination?

      • there is insufficient information to be able to answer your question. Although if you recall The West Wing, there were more male senior advisors and more women in the support functions.

        • there is insufficient information to be able to answer your question. Although if you recall The West Wing, there were more male senior advisors and more women in the support functions.

          LOL

          Yes, I usually try to catch old West Wing episodes when I really want to know what goes on in the White House.

          Actually there’s no attempt to answer the question. The difference in median pay for men and women on White House staff is a fact.

          You have missed the whole point, which is that Obama is a hypocrite for calling for equal pay for women when men and women on his own staff aren’t paid equally.

          If we assume that every White House staff position could be filled by either a man or a woman, then more men in senior positions sounds like blatant discrimination, and more women in support positions sounds like blatant discrimination by the very someone who bleats loudly for equal pay.

          This difference in pay between men and women is the exact complaint directed at private employers, and as has been repeatedly explained at this blog, there are good explanations of the differences other than discrimination.

          The same may be true of White house staff, but the Bozo in Chief is hypocritical for condemning a condition that exists in his own staff.

          Get it?

          Overall i’m quite disappointed that a professor of economics has such a poor grasp of stats.

          No I guess you don’t get it.

          • My point is not about pay equality, it’s about statistics. And you don’t get statistics.

            Have read of this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median.

            A Google search gave me the actual numbers, http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/disclosures/annual-records/2013, however it does not indicate the sex of the employee. Therefore based on the first name I could guess the sex, although this method is not accurate. There are 55 out of 460 I could not assign a sex to.

            Of the 460 employees listed, there are 271 unique job titles. Of these 271 there are 39 that have both male and female job holders. The job description that occurs most often with both females and males is ‘analyst’ with 5 and 10 respectively. All males have a declared salary of $42k; four of the five women have a declared salary of $42k, with one earning $80k but is listed as a detailee rather than employee. Therefore the median male salary is $42k as is the median female salary. The average analysts salary for men is $42k and for women is $49k. Women earning more than men – would you believe it! That’s not the title of this blog post!

            Therefore for the position of analyst, the professor’s claim is incorrect.

            Let’s have a look at senior level positions:
            There are 23 positions with the title of ‘Assistant to the President’, 11 women and 12 men. Median for both sexes is $172k – would you believe it – the professor’s claim doesn’t hold water again! In fact the average salary for women in this position is $171,354.55 and for men is $170,1410.67 – so women at this level earn more than men!

            Now who doesn’t get it? I know it’s not me.

          • You have missed the whole point, which is that Obama is >a hypocrite for calling for equal pay for women when men and women on his own staff aren’t paid equally.

            you know what, in fact numbers stated in this post may as well tell the opposite story. (for what these numbers worth – close to nothing) 87% is almost half way between 77% and 100%, so presumably Obama, while not there yet, noticeably advanced compared to the country’s average.

          • WD

            First, thank you for the reminder of what the term “median” means.

            Then, thanks for the exhaustive analysis of salary data for White House staff, althoughall for nothing.

            My point is not about pay equality, it’s about statistics. And you don’t get statistics.

            Actually this blog post is about pay equality, and offers up the “Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff” which shows, that, by gender, the median pay for all women is 85% of the median pay for all men. Our host has made no attempt to provide any finer detail than “all” women and “all” men.

            While your excellent effort showing that of 460 employees on staff, 38 who are analysts and assistants are NOT paid unequally by gender is to be admired, it does nothing to refute the claim that median pay for all women is 85% of the median pay for all men.

            A Google search gave me the actual numbers…Therefore based on the first name I could guess the sex, although this method is not accurate….[a description of your work follows]… Women earning more than men – would you believe it! That’s not the title of this blog post!

            There are 55 out of 460 I could not assign a sex to.

            Perhaps you meant that you couldn’t determine the sex of those 55 based on their names. They don’t likely need sex assigned to them.

            Women earning more than men – would you believe it! That’s not the title of this blog post!

            It’s easy to believe, but irrelevant on this thread.

            Therefore for the position of analyst, the professor’s claim is incorrect.

            The professor made no claim about pay equality for the position of analysts

            Let’s have a look at senior level positions:…

            – the professor’s claim doesn’t hold water again! In fact the average salary for women in this position is $171,354.55 and for men is $170,1410.67 – so women at this level earn more than men!

            Again! the professor made no claim about pay equality for assistants.

            Now who doesn’t get it? I know it’s not me.

            Try again. The point is hypocrisy.

          • Ron H – the women and men doing the same job are getting the same pay. If you can’t believe that, that is your problem. Not mine.

          • WD

            Ron H – the women and men doing the same job are getting the same pay. If you can’t believe that, that is your problem. Not mine.

            Wait. You have shown that for 38 of the 460 jobs at the White House men and women are paid the same.

            But unless you wish to question the 2013 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff, then the median pay for women is 87% of the median pay for women.

            IF as you suggest men and women doing the same job get the same pay – although 38 of 460 jobs is hardly overwhelming evidence of that – THEN there must be more women in lower paying jobs and more men in higher paying jobs to produce the discrepancy in median pay between men and women.

            IF that is true, then the question is WHY is it true?

            WHY would more men have high paying jobs than women?

            There may be perfectly good reasons for the discrepancy, just as there are in the private sector, but as you pointed out, the question isn’t answered by the information we have.

            Meanwhile, the Bozo in Chief, calls for correcting a condition in the private sector that may not be a problem, but in any case exists in his own house.

            Why is this so hard for you?

  8. People – we KNOW that the difference in pay is due to hours worked and experience, yet, that is true for the same “wage gap” the president is citing. When normalized for hours worked and experience there is no wage gap

  9. Presumably, this should show that Obama is a hypocrite, but in fact it shows that his organization already almost half-way there (87% instead of 77% for the whole country).

  10. For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with the debunking of the “77% of what men make” statistic and/or are humor-deficient: this was a facetious suggestion.

    There is no such difference, when comparing people of comparable experience, education, etc. The more things you put into the “etc.” the less difference you are apt to find. In a few categories, the difference even goes slightly the other way.

  11. Have you not grasped by now that Obama’s programs are not intended to be understood in detail but only in concept? If it looks good, wear it, but certainly DO NOT dissect it.

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