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Texas State Democratic Senator Wendy Davis questions the state Texas State Democratic Senator Wendy Davis questions the state's Republican Senator Glenn Hegar, sponsor of Senate Bill 1 (SB1), as the state Senate meets to consider legislation restricting abortion rights in Austin, Texas July 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Mike Stone)  

Men on Wendy Davis Texas Senate staff outearned women

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Chuck Ross
Reporter

Analysis of Texas state Senate salary records shows that Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state senator Wendy Davis paid her male staffers more than female staffers.

According to documents obtained in an open records request, in 44 out of the 58 months between Jan. 2009, when Davis took office, and Oct. 2013, the highest earner in Davis’ Senate office was a man.

In six months, a female staffer earned the highest salary, and in the remaining six months a male and a female staffer shared the top spot.

The most any Davis staffer was paid in any month throughout the five year period was $8,851 in the middle of 2010 to Ware Wendell, Davis’ chief of staff. In Oct. 2013, a female Davis staffer, chief of staff Sonya Grogg, was paid $6,250.

For 37 of the 58 months in the recent analysis, men average higher salaries in Davis’ office than women. Women averaged larger salaries in the remaining 21 months.

All told, male staffers employed by Davis earned just over $300,000 more than female staffers. Salaries paid to men totaled $1,143,357 while women were paid $837,481 in aggregate, salary records show.

Besides pay disparities, Davis routinely employed more male than female staffers.

For 35 of the 58 months between Jan. 2009 and Oct. 2013, a majority of Davis’ staff were male.

In only ten months during that span did Davis have more female staffers. Her office was evenly split for the remaining 13 months in the period.

The gap reached its highest in several months in 2009 and 2010 when Davis employed seven men versus three women, though as of Oct. 2013, Davis employed six female and five male staffers.

The issue of gender pay and job status has become a hot-button issue both on a national level and in the Texas governor race.

On Tuesday, Democrats across the nation focused on “Equal Pay Day,”which was commemorated by President Obama with two executive orders. Davis, who rose to fame last year when she filibustered the Texas Senate over abortion restrictions, has spent much of her campaign on the issue of gender disparities in pay and other realms.

Most recently, Davis has attacked her opponent, Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, over his statement that if he was governor, he would have vetoed equal-pay legislation proposed last year by Davis.

“Today is #EqualPayDay,” wrote Davis on her Twitter account on Tuesday. “In Greg Abbott’s office, where women earn less than men for doing the same work (despite having more experience), we imagine today is pretty awkward.

Despite pay differences over the longer term, the status of women on Davis’ staff has risen recently.

Her current gubernatorial campaign is mostly populated by women. Davis paid political consultant Karin Johanson nearly $14,000 a month last year, campaign finance records show. No male campaign workers came close to that figure.

“Greg Abbott supports equal pay and supports the state and federal laws that already prohibit discrimination and give victims an avenue to seek redress in the courts,” Abbott communications director Matt Hirsch said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Davis’ campaign did not address her staffers’ pay, instead criticizing Abbot.

“Wendy Davis’ office reflects — unlike Greg Abbott’s office where more experienced women are paid less than their male coworkers for doing the same job — the basic principle of equal pay for equal work,” said spokesman Zac Petkanas in a statement to TheDCNF.

“Unlike in Greg Abbott’s office, when you do the same job as someone else you get paid the same regardless of gender.  When you have a more senior position, you get paid higher regardless of gender.”

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