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Audacity: Women in White House Paid Less Than Men

Morgen on July 16, 2009 at 8:16 am

The Obama Administration released compensation data for all White House staff back on July 1. Blogger Ariel Boone did some number crunching and uncovered some interesting stats on the average compensation by gender. Here were her key findings:

NUMBERS OF FEMALE AND MALE STAFF ARE EQUAL: Out of a total of 487 employees, women comprise 49.9% of the White House staff!

WOMEN EARN LESS: On average, a White House woman earns $9,390 less than a White House man.

The average salary for a male employee is $82,346, while the average for a female employee is $72,956. Women are earning $0.89 for every $1.00 men make. Heck, that’s better than the national average of $0.77.

As Ariel is quick to note, these numbers alone do not confirm that female White House staffers are paid less than males in similar positions. And as it turns out, the primary explanation for this discrepancy is that there are a much higher number of women in lower level staff positions which command lower salaries. Ariel put together an excellent graph to illustrate this (click to view larger image):

WH Pay Levels

I suppose this may be the end of the story. After all, the fact that the White House employs more women in lower level, administrative types of positions is typical of society at large. And it also happens to be a continuation of a trend first started by the Obama presidential campaign.

But like Ariel, I was struck by the fact that the number of men and women staffers is virtually equal. And considering that there are nearly 500 employees in the White House, I’m pretty sure this was intentional.

So I do find it a little hypocritical for an Administration which has claimed to elevate Women’s Issues on the national agenda, and which aims to somehow “restore fairness” to our economy at large. I really can’t imagine that there were not enough qualified women available for higher ranking positions; and likewise, I think there would have been plenty of men ready, willing, and able to serve in lower ranking positions. Perhaps the large number of women voters who propelled the President to victory last November might be interested in considering the implications of this data as well. Is this the Change you voted for?

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Category: Politics |

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