KARL: Jay, I just want to clarify, to come back to this inequality issue. The president cited census data that women on average make 77 percent of what men make. Why is that an example or evidence of discrimination in the workforce at large, but it’s not evidence of discrimination when women here at the White House make 88 percent of what men here at the White House make?
CARNEY: Again, Jon –
KARL: It’s the same measure, it’s the same metric, and there’s a big gab on both sides.
CARNEY: We are hard at work here at the White House in the most transparent of ways to make sure women compete for and earn senior positions, that women are recruited for more junior positions so that they’re put in the pipeline for senior positions in the future. In fact, virtually every woman who sits in a senior staff office today was promoted from within the White House to that position, which demonstrates the president’s commitment to a diverse workforce here at the White House and in the administration, and demonstrates his commitment to having the very best talent around him advising him. Because it’s not just a question of fairness, it’s a question of quality. And there have been great studies in the private sector about having more women in top positions of fortune 500 companies improves the performance of those companies and improves the bottom line of those companies. And I know the president feels that the quality of debate and discussion and advice that he gets within this White House and more broadly this administration is improved by the presence of women, and more broadly of a diverse body of advisers. So look, there's no question that everybody needs to do more to get this right. One of the reasons why, one of the factors that goes into the figures that exist here at the White House is an aggressive effort to bring in young, talented women and others to help the workforce here to be diverse, and to make sure that there are people in the pipeline to be promoted within this White House and future White Houses and administrations so that that talent base is here in the future. It goes to fairness, and it goes to quality.
KARL: But Jay, I'm asking about the metric here. You would say there's no pay discrimination here at the White House, right? There's no pay discrimination at the White House. Is that your --
CARNEY: It is absolutely true that there is equal pay for equal work at the White House.
KARL: OK. But you're using the same metric to argue that there's pay discrimination in the workforce at large. Explain to me why the metric works in the economy at large, but it doesn't work here at the White House?
CARNEY: Again, the fact that there is indisputable census data that women earn 77 cents on the dollar that men earn. A lot of things go into that discrepancy. Discrimination and lack of transparency and the inability of women to find out what they're paid vis-a-vis their male coworkers is part of the problem. That is something we, in the administration via the president's authorities, and Congress through legislation can address. That is what the president is saying today. That is why he took the action he took That is why he's calling on Congress to do what it can do to address those problems. I'm not disputing that there are a lot of factors that go into that, but the discrepancy is real. And the again, I --
KARL: But I still don't understand why you're saying that's evidence of discrimination outside the White House, but the same metric is not evidence of discrimination inside the White House. I mean, it's the same metric.
CARNEY: Again, Jon, what I'm saying --
KARL: Well, you're not going very well -- 88 percent?
CARNEY: Well, first of all, again, if you want to compare metrics, we're doing better.
KARL: So is that the goal, to do a little bit better than the outside?
CARNEY: No, the goal is to do absolutely the best that we can do and that what we're striving to do here. And that's what the legislation the president calls on Congress to pass would ensure that others are doing across the country. And what astounds me about this debate is the suggestion -- and you don't hear a lot of women making it -- is that there isn't pay discrepancy.
KARL: I'm not making a suggestion, I'm asking about the metric you use outside the White House --
CARNEY: I don't think we dispute anything you're saying except that we have transparency here, what this law, if passed, would provide would be greater transparency for women. It exists at the White House, it should exist everywhere. And women should have the protections and tools in order to fight for paycheck fairness and transparency. Republicans object to this strenuously using the same arguments that conservatives used when they objected to every bit of progress made on civil rights for women and minorities for his -- over the past many decades. And they were wrong then, and they're wrong now. But I want to have this debate. I want you guys to -- let's talk about this every day until they pass it. (transcript via Grabien)
ORIGINAL SOURCE ARTICLE
BY LESLEY CLARK
McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 29, 2014 Updated 15 hours ago
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama calls it “wrong” and an “embarrassment” that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, saying women deserve equal pay for equal work.
“At a time when women make up about half of the workforce, but still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns – we’ve got to finish the job and give women the tools they need to fight for equal pay,” Obama said Wednesday in Maryland, calling for an end to “workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.” His remarks echoed what he said the night before in his State of the Union address, and which he’s said before, always to applause.
But a McClatchy review of White House salaries shows that when the same calculations that produced the 77 cents is applied to the White House, the average female pay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is less than the average male pay. When counted the same way that produced the 77-cent figure, the analysis found, women overall at the White House make 91 cents for every dollar men make. That’s an average salary of $84,082 for men and $76,516 for women.
Asked about its own payroll, the White House said Wednesday that it should be measured by how it pays men and women in the same jobs, but not the kind of broad brush that compares overall male and female pay.
White House aides said that overwhelmingly, the president’s employees with the same position make the same money: all press assistants make $42,000 regardless of gender; most presidential assistants, including Press Secretary Jay Carney and Lisa Monaco, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, make $172,200.
The 77-cent figure – which Obama used on the campaign trail in 2012 – stems from a 2011 report by the U.S. Census Bureau that found that in 2010, females overall made 77 percent of what males made. That means all workers regardless of what jobs they hold – not one worker in one particular job compared with another worker in the same job.
Obama didn’t make the distinction in his State of the Union speech or in remarks Wednesday as he celebrated the fifth anniversary of the first bill he signed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which he said helps protect a woman’s right to fair pay.
The White House has supported a Democratic-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require businesses to show that wage discrepancies between men and women are not based on gender. It also bans retaliation against workers who reveal their wages. Republicans have opposed it as a show vote aimed at making them look anti-women.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said equal pay legislation calls for equal pay for equal work.
“That’s what we have at the White House,” he said. “Men and women in equivalent roles earn equivalent salaries.”
He noted two deputy chiefs of staff – one man and one woman – make the same salary. And he said 16 department heads – over half of whom are women – make the same salary.
The Republican National Committee noted the disparity in Obama’s remarks, pointing to a 2013 American Enterprise Institute study that found a pay gap of 13 percent, using the same White House data that McClatchy used. The data, which the White House has been required to deliver to Congress since 1995, includes the title and salary of every White House Office employee. It includes more than 400 employees, including administration officials who work at the Office of Policy Development, including the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council – along with White House Office employees.
“It’s interesting, though, that for all his talk, President Obama allows his White House to pay women less than men,” wrote Sarah Isgur Flores, the RNC’s deputy communications director. “Last night, President Obama told Congress, ‘Women deserve equal pay for equal work,’ and then he headed back to the White House where women don’t receive equal pay.”
Anne York, who studies gender equality in the workplace as an associate professor at Meredith College School of Business in Raleigh, N.C., said the 77-cent pay disparity figure masks a variety of factors as to why women – on average – don’t make as much as men.
“We have no definitive answers, but a lot of reasons,” York said. Whether by tradition or personal choice, women often seek lower-paying occupations than men – say, home health aide vs. neurosurgeon – and often trade earnings for flexibility at work, York said.
“We’re past the days of blatant discrimination, we’re past the ‘Mad Men’ days, but we’re not there yet,” York said.
Some studies show that pay for men and women in their 20s is at parity, Young said, but that gaps emerge as women move into motherhood.
“Companies aren’t off the hook that make it difficult for anyone to have work-life balance,” she said. “But there’s a lot of societal views that are still influential.”
DANIEL WHITE AND DANNY DOUGHERTY OF THE WASHINGTON BUREAU CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/29/216301/how-does-obama-stack-up-on-womens.html#storylink=cpy
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