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White House staffers see gen­der pay gap

Anal­y­sis shows $33,300 dif­fer­ence be­tween men’s and women’s salaries

- Cha­beli Car­razana The 19th Con­tribut­ing: Amanda Becker This story was pub­lished in part­ner­ship with The 19th, a non­profit, non­par­ti­san news­room re­port­ing on gen­der, pol­i­tics and pol­icy. Patriarchy · Sexism · Women's Rights · U.S. News · US Politics · Discrimination · Feminism · Politics · Republican Party Politics · Human Rights · Society · Social Movements · Republican Party (United States) · Donald Trump · Kellyanne Conway · Barack Obama · Congress of the United States · Executive Office of the President of the United States · Ivanka Trump · White House National Security Council · U.S. government · George W. Bush · George H. W. Bush · Bill Clinton · Joe Biden · White House · Washington · Hope Hicks · Gender Pay Gap · American Enterprise Institute · Kayleigh McEnany · Stephanie Grisham · Jared Kushner

Dur­ing the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion last month, the high-rank­ing women in Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s White House tried to make the case for his com­mit­ment to gen­der equal­ity.

Outgoing ad­viser Kellyanne Con­way called him “a cham­pion for women.” Brooke Rollins, act­ing di­rec­tor of the Do­mes­tic Pol­icy Coun­cil, said Trump has more women on his top team “than any pres­i­dent be­fore.”

A video flashed through images of women who ad­vise the pres­i­dent, in­clud­ing his daugh­ter Ivanka and his daugh­ter-in-law, Lara. A voiceover in­toned, “Pres­i­dent Trump has proven that when the stakes are high­est, he is proud to en­trust many of our na­tion’s most cru­cial jobs to women.”

An anal­y­sis by The 19th of the 2020 me­dian salaries in the Trump White House found a $33,300 chasm be­tween the salary for male staffers ($106,000) and the salary for fe­male staffers ($72,700).

Women make nearly 69 cents on the male $1 – worse than the na­tional gen­der pay gap of 82 cents on the dol­lar.

The num­bers re­flect what econ­o­mists call the “raw” gen­der pay gap, mean­ing they don’t ad­just for ex­pe­ri­ence, ed­u­ca­tion, ti­tle or other fac­tors.

“To avoid ad­dress­ing struc­tural and in­sti­tu­tional gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion in terms of pay eq­uity, the go-to is to talk about po­si­tion and ti­tle when, in fact, that’s not what’s driv­ing pay in­equity,” said C. Ni­cole Ma­son, pres­i­dent and CEO of the In­sti­tute for Women’s Pol­icy Re­search. “It’s de­ci­sions that are be­ing made from the top down about the valu­ing of women’s work and how much they should be paid.”

Women in Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s White House were paid 84 to 89 cents for ev­ery $1 paid to male staffers, though that gap was nar­rower than the na­tional gen­der pay gap in those years.

The gen­der pay gap widened from 89 cents on the dol­lar in 2016, the fi­nal year Obama was in of­fice, to 63 cents the first year Trump was in of­fice, ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis by the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute, a con­ser­va­tive think tank.

The Trump White House salaries are cur­rent as of June 26. The num­bers have been re­ported an­nu­ally to Congress on July 1 since 1995. The White House did not com­ment on the gen­der pay gap but pro­vided data on av­er­age salaries, which have in­creased by 7.1% for fe­male staffers from 2017 to 2020, while de­creas­ing for male staffers by 0.6%.

In a state­ment, press sec­re­tary Kayleigh McE­nany said the pres­i­dent “im­ple­ments poli­cies that em­power women across the coun­try.” She high­lighted some of the mile­stones dur­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­clud­ing a his­toric low un­em­ploy­ment rate for women in 2019 (though fe­male un­em­ploy­ment has hit a his­toric high dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic); the pas­sage of paid fam­ily leave for fed­eral em­ploy­ees; and the es­tab­lish­ment of the Women’s Global Devel­op­ment and Pros­per­ity Ini­tia­tive, led by Ivanka Trump.

The White House noted that half of the se­nior lead­ers in the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil are women.

“Pres­i­dent Trump has taken un­prece­dented ac­tion to sup­port women and girls,” McE­nany said.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion said it has more women in se­nior po­si­tions than any other pres­i­dent. An anal­y­sis by The 19th of its com­mis­sioned of­fi­cers – as­sis­tants, deputy as­sis­tants and spe­cial as­sis­tants to the pres­i­dent – found that about 40% of staffers with that rank­ing in the Trump White House are women.

In the 2016 Obama White House, which had a larger over­all staff, the gen­der split in top po­si­tions was 50–50.

A Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion anal­y­sis of top ad­vis­ers across ad­min­is­tra­tions found that the 2017 Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion had women in 23% of its “A” team po­si­tions, what Brook­ings de­fines as the most in­flu­en­tial staff mem­bers.

That’s less than the 2009 Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, the 2001 Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion and the 1993 Bill Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Joe Bi­den’s cam­paign did not pro­vide its salary break­down by gen­der but said 59% of its full-time staffers are fe­male and 56% of se­nior staffers are women.

Mark Perry, an econ­o­mist at the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute, said some of the dis­par­ity in pay in var­i­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions can be ex­plained by look­ing at the spread of male and fe­male staffers by se­nior­ity.

Fed­eral guide­lines dic­tate the salary brack­ets by type of po­si­tion, so men and women per­form­ing sim­i­lar jobs can ex­pect to be paid about the same.

More women are hired into en­try-level po­si­tions, Perry said. “More women than men have the col­lege de­grees that would get them the cre­den­tials to get a job at the White House as a low-paid staff per­son,” he said.

At the higher end, there are more men than women who have ad­vanced de­grees and ex­pe­ri­ence in pol­i­tics, he said.

“That la­bor mar­ket for peo­ple with 30 years con­tin­u­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in Wash­ing­ton … there were just nat­u­rally more men than women in that la­bor mar­ket,” Perry said.

That paints an in­com­plete pic­ture, Ma­son said. “There is no ab­sence of qual­i­fied women,” she said, adding that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion made a stronger com­mit­ment to hir­ing women in se­nior lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

In 2016, more women than men earned $100,000 or more in the Obama White House – about 53% of six-fig­ure earn­ers com­pared with nearly 47% who were men. In 2020, the split among the high­est earn­ers in the Trump White House is 37% fe­male and 63% male.

Among the top fe­male earn­ers in the White House are Con­way, Rollins, McE­nany, aide Hope Hicks and the first lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Gr­isham, who all made $183,000. Ivanka Trump and her hus­band, Jared Kush­ner, do not take a salary in their White House roles.

“The go-to is to talk about po­si­tion and ti­tle when that’s not what’s driv­ing pay in­equity. It’s de­ci­sions that are be­ing made from the top down about the valu­ing of women’s work and how much they should be paid.” C. Ni­cole Ma­son, the In­sti­tute for Women’s Pol­icy Re­search

 ?? AN­DREW HARNIK/AP ?? Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his daugh­ter and ad­viser Ivanka at­tend a work­force devel­op­ment roundtable at Wauke­sha County Tech­ni­cal Col­lege in Pe­wau­kee, Wis. in June.
AN­DREW HARNIK/AP Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his daugh­ter and ad­viser Ivanka at­tend a work­force devel­op­ment roundtable at Wauke­sha County Tech­ni­cal Col­lege in Pe­wau­kee, Wis. in June.

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