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 232 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.