White House Women paid less than White House Men: “But can they type?”

It had to be done—I broke down the White House’s July 1 report on staff salaries and compiled a data table to look at the status of women in the administration we voted for. Go math go!

Key Findings

  • 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? Continue reading

Agony is not MY “rite of passage.”

Pain management and childbirth deserve discussion as issues of women’s rights to healthcare.  The author of this BBC article, Dr. Denis Walsh, associate professor in midwifery at Nottingham University, argues that the agony of labor makes women better mothers.  He does cite medical benefits to childbirth pain such as the release of endorphins and the lessened need for hormone treatment, but Walsh actually says here that pain is a “rite of passage”.  It is no doctor’s place, especially a doctor who enjoys male privilege, to speak of a “woman’s lot” and assume that we should grin and bear it.  What other “rites of passage” has the world assumed that women should embrace as part of our life suffering?  Female genital mutilation, for one.  His use of this language is problematic.

Dr. Walsh’s female colleague, Dr. Maggie Blott, had to clarify his comments.  She says he does not advocate pain, but only “encourages alternative ways to deal with pain such as yoga, hypnosis, massage and birthing pools.”

Access to home birth, natural birth, midwives, etc. is still decided by privilege. High costs associated with the lack of health insurance coverage restrict the average mother-to-be’s alternative pain management tools, and some governments have even bowed to healthcare industry pressure to all but ban midwifery. Yet Dr. Walsh intimates that women who choose epidurals lack a certain moral fiber that can only be won through pain and suffering, which he accepts as the common experience of women in childbirth.  Americans do have problematic dependencies on pain relief drugs, and there is a myth that a hospital birth is always the best option. But those who follow the healthcare industry’s track of a hospital birth and have an epidural, either by choice or by lack of access to alternative pregnancy care, need not be vilified.

Pain without an epidural is not a rite of passage for mothers, but rather a failure of our world healthcare systems to provide alternative care.  Get the message straight.

Gay Blood Ban Doesn’t Work, U.S. Costs Lives

Gay Ban

The American Red Cross will not accept blood donations from men who have had sex with men, and women who have had sex with these men (who have had sex with men).  The official United States FDA policy forbids it (updated May 2007), stating:

“Men who have had sex with other men, at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors. This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion.

[…]

Blood donor testing using current advanced technologies has greatly reduced the risk of HIV transmission but cannot yet detect all infected donors or prevent all transmission by transfusions. While today’s highly sensitive tests fail to detect less than one in a million HIV infected donors, it is important to remember that in the US there are over 20 million transfusions of blood, red cell concentrates, plasma or platelets every year. Therefore, even a failure rate of 1 in a million can be significant if there is an increased risk of undetected HIV in the blood donor population.”

Prominent countries who allow gay men to donate blood:
Switzerland
France
Italy
Spain
Australia (12-month deferral)

To look at the legitimacy of the Bush-era FDA’s “models” saying that transfusion HIV transmissions would increase, let’s examine the rates* in the U.S., France, and Italy of transmission via blood transfusion. (Note that this is only for HIV transmission): Continue reading

Norm Coleman is a SORE LOSER. The winner? Google.

The wiki page has since been updated, but google’s cache hasn’t been, as of Wed, May 20, 11:03 EST. Snicker.

Is sex a conjugal right?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8040813.stm

A Kenyan man sued an activist group called the Women’s Development Organisation in the wake of their activism around a woman-implemented ban on sex, designed to eliminate gridlock in government.

James Kimondo told reporters outside the Nairobi High Court his wife had observed the boycott and caused him “anxiety and sleepless nights”.

This is similar to Phyllis Schlafly declaring that marriage includes 24/7 consent of the woman to sex, asking me, “Didn’t they teach you that in sex ed?”

Moral of the story:  if you think Kenya’s ridiculous, have you met some of our distinguished citizens?  First off, encouraging women to ban sex has its pros and cons:

+ It encourages them to exercise the power of non-consent.

– It assumes that the root of women’s power is in sexuality.  That’s problematic.

No news here.

Confused Teabagger

If there’s a cow in your wallet, I’m not sure there’s much the government can do to help you.

Framing the Presidential Press Conference and A Progressive Thesaurus

1. Best line from the Presidential Press Conference:

“America is an ocean liner, not a speedboat.”

Jon Favreau, Obama’s speech-writer, intended these underlying meanings:

-America is a well-oiled machine
-America doesn’t just have one person at the helm, but rather many
-America has a well-regulated, organized crew
-America is on a journey
-America has a destination
-America is formidable in size Continue reading