- NUMBERS OF FEMALE AND MALE STAFF ARE EQUAL: Out of a total of 487 employees, women comprise 49.9% of the White House staff!
That is very close to the nationwide population average; 50.9% of Americans are women, according to US Census numbers from 2000. But should we be judging by a population benchmark? Of the Class of 2009, women were awarded close to 60% of all degrees, including Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, and Doctoral. The perceived gap between female WH employees and female graduates entering the workforce is larger: 49.9% vs 60%.
- 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. But alone, these averages DO NOT confirm that White House women are paid less than men in comparable positions. Here, averages only imply differences in seniority and pay level. A woman’s median WH salary is $57,314, while a man’s median WH salary is $65,000.
Where is this disparity occurring?
- WOMEN ARE IN LOWER PAID POSITIONS: in the lowest earning brackets, $30,000-$59,999, the number of female employees outstrips the number of men.
From the data table, the position titles for these lower-paying jobs stand out as traditional women’s (lower-level) positions: Staff Assistant, Correspondence Analyst, Executive Assistant, Greetings Coordinator, Scheduler, and Receptionist. A trend emerges, especially from the $90,000-129,999 and $140,000-179,999 brackets: women are employed in the White House for traditionally lower level positions, but are outnumbered at the levels of senior staff.
Rudimentary statistics tells us correlation does not imply causation. Because it is impossible to compare the seniority of every employee granted the title “Staff Assistant,” these figures say nothing of hiring practices or of attitudes toward women in the administration. But it is disappointing to see just as government functions as a large corporation, people at the highest levels are increasingly male. Is this like the Women’s Campaign Forum’s findings that women must be encouraged to run for office? Are women reluctant to step up to positions of higher seniority? Do women receive preference in traditionally lower-ranking administrative jobs? Or, as Sen. Amy Klobuchar commented today during Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing…
So, I think it’s worth remembering that when Justice O’Connor graduated from law school, the only offers she got from law firms were for legal secretary positions. Justice O’Connor – who graduated third in her class at Stanford Law School – saw her accomplishments reduced to one question: “Can she type?”
In this White House, we can’t know for sure.
Notes about my process:
- Besides making “assumptions” about the 487 names, there were about 50 gender-ambiguous names (Ashley, Jamia, Tracy, etc) that I researched to confirm the person’s pronouns. I do realize this process is not trans-inclusive. Numbers and the data table have been edited since the original posting to reflect 3 miscategorized employees.
- Patricia McGinnis and Michael Warren were counted into the total number of employees, but not into the salary averages and medians, as both earned $0.00
- The total percentage of staff includes detailees, but the average salary does not. Detailees are essentially employees on loan from other federal agencies, whose salaries are determined and paid for by the other agencies.