While President Barack Obama handily won the women’s vote by 11 percentage points in November over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, his administration paid the women on his payroll less than his male employees last year.
A Daily Caller analysis of the administration’s “2012 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff” shows that while women comprised about half of the 468 staffers — as the president touted during his press conference Monday — they also earned about 13 percent less, on average, than their male counterparts.
The median 2012 salary for female employees of the White House was $62,000; for men that number was $71,000.
TheDC calculated the median male and female salaries by determining employee genders based on their names. In cases where the gender was not clear, TheDC either identified the specific employee in other ways or — in a few cases — assigned gender based on the most common use of a given name according to databases of baby names.
The 2012 pay disparity represented an improvement from the disparity in 2011 figures the Washington Free Beacon reported last year. According to that analysis, the median female compensation in the White House was $60,000 — $2,000 less than in 2012 — and the male employees’ median was unchanged at $71,000. That amounted to an 18 percent difference.
In his statement last year declaring April 17 Equal Pay Day, Obama lamented the pay disparity between men and women in America, echoing the well-worn yet often-questioned statistic that “women who worked full-time earned only 77 percent of what their male counterparts did.”
He pointed to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for women to sue for lost wages due to pay discrimination, and to the creation of the National Equal Pay Task Force in 2010, as examples of the administration’s commitment to equal pay.
“At a time when families across our country are struggling to make ends meet, ensuring a fair wage for all parents is more important than ever,” the president said. “Women are breadwinners in a growing number of families, and women’s earnings play an increasingly important role in families’ incomes. For them, fair pay is even more than a basic right — it is an economic necessity.”
Obama’s White House female employees achieved a slightly better 87 percent of what their male counterparts earned, compared to Obama’s national 77 percent figure.
In recent weeks Obama has come under fire for the composition of his inner circle — initially sparked by an official White House photo of the president published by The New York Times in which he was surrounded by all men. His nomination of white men to all four second-term cabinet positions so far has also drawn criticism.
Establishment media outlets and women’s groups have been troubled by the apparent lack of female leadership and diversity the administration has exhibited so far— with the National Organization for Women demanding to know “President Obama, Where are the Women?” Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, all co-founders of the Women’s Media Center, have pressed Obama to adopt an inner circle that looks more like American.
“[Obama] wouldn’t have been re-elected without 55 percent of the women’s vote, something he earned by representing women’s majority views on issues, yet now he seems to be ignoring women’s ability to be not only voters, but leaders,” the trio wrote Friday in a CNN website essay.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell noted Sunday on “Meet the Press” that women inside the White House “are not happy” with the male-dominated face of Obama’s administration.
Monday, Obama addressed some of the criticisms about the composition of his cabinet, saying that it is too soon to “rush to judgment” and that women were influential throughout his first term.
“So if you think about my first four years, the person who probably had the most influence on my foreign policy was a woman,” Obama said. “The people who were in charge of moving forward my most important domestic initiative, health care, were women. The person in charge of our homeland security was a woman. My two appointments to the Supreme Court were women. And 50 percent of my White House staff were women. So I think people should expect that that record will be built upon during the next four years.”
New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel, however, called Obama’s failure to appoint more women and minorities to high-profile positions “embarrassing as hell.”
“The questions I’ve heard are fair,” Rangel said Jan. 10 on MSNBC. “The record does speak for itself.”