January 17 2014
Posted By Caroline May
This week, Maria Shiver presented President Barack Obama with the most recent report on the economic plight of women in America.
The report looks at women’s financial insecurity, poverty, and inequality, including the contested assertion that the median earnings of full-time female workers make 77 percent of the full-time male’s income, and offers public and private solutions to raising their economic status in America.
“As the president knows well, investing in and supporting women over their lifetimes is one of the best ways to tackle income inequality and achieve greater social mobility, and he looks forward to learning about the findings of the report,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said of the meeting Monday.
While Obama met with Shriver Tuesday and has advocated for women’s pay equity — the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill he signed into law as president — according to a Daily Caller analysis of the administration’s “2013 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff,” the White House still paid women less than men in 2013.
The analysis of the data, which, as the document notes, does not “reflect salary reductions staff have taken due to furloughs and commissioned officer salary reductions,” found that the median 2013 salary for men was $73,729, while the median salary for women was $65,000.
TheDC calculated the medians by first determining employee genders based on their names. In instances in which the name did not clearly indicate a specific gender, TheDC either identified the specific employee in other ways or assigned gender based on the most common use of a given name based on internet baby name databases.
From there, TheDC was able to estimate a White House gender pay gap of 11.8 percent.
An analysis of the same 2013 data by American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry also revealed a gender pay gap; however, Perry’s analysis identified five fewer women and arrived at an estimated pay gap of 13 percent — with the median annual pay for women at $65,000 and $75,000 for men.
And while both analyses found a pay gap, the White House does have a smaller gap than the national 23 percent. And its 2013 discrepancy is better than years past. In 2012 the White House paid women 13 percent less than men. In 2011, according to the Free Beacon, women were paid 18 percent less.
“Wage inequality undermines the promise of fairness and opportunity upon which our country was founded,” Obama said in April, declaring April 9 “Equal Pay Day” and reiterating the 23 percent pay gap statistic. “For families trying to make ends meet, that gap can also mean the difference between falling behind and getting ahead. When working mothers make less than their male counterparts, they have less to spend on basic necessities like child care, groceries, and rent.”
Though the administration and progressives point to the fact that women make just 77 cents to every man’s dollar as cause for concern, Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum, noted that while she does not deny discrimination exists and there are bad employers, she sees the 23 percent wage gap as exaggerated.
“If you control for any number of factors including college major, time spent out of the work place, job title, that wage gap shrinks tremendously. And in many instances it shrinks down to about 94 cents, even 96 cents in some studies I’ve read,” she said, pointing out that that some of that 6 cents wage gap could be attributed to certain differences between the sexes. Women do not negotiate their salaries as often as men. Some of it could be also be attributed to discrimination.
The White House did not respond to request for comment.