During his State of the Union address last night, President Obama said it was an "embarrassment" that in today's American society women get paid less than men, ignoring the fact that his White House pays women less than men. Obama even went so far as comparing today's offices with those of a Madmen episode. If you're not familiar, Madmen is a show based in the 1960s.
Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show.
According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).
Today on Fox News, contributor and liberal radio host Alan Colmes defended the White House policy of paying women less than men and said President Obama isn't setting the salaries for the people working for him. He also argued the work place for women in 2014 is just as hostile as is was in 1960, which is completely false. Fox and Friends Weekend host Tucker Carlson quickly pushed back, saying it was ridiculous for the President to tout equal pay for women while at the same time overseeing a White House that pays women less. Fox News Anchor Martha McCallum correctly pointed out there are reasons why women get paid differently than men, especially after child birth and making the decision to leave the work place to raise children.
Americans appropriately recoil from the idea of a sexist economy that short-changes hard-working women. If it were true, it would be outrageous.
Fortunately, however, this commonly repeated claim is false. There is no evidence that women are routinely paid a fraction of what men make for the same work, or that discrimination drives statistical differences between men and women’s earnings.
The Department of Labor statistic underlying the “wage gap” claim simply compares a full-time working man’s median wages with those of a full-time working woman, ignoring the many factors that affect earnings, including number of hours worked, industry, years of experience, and education, to name but a few. When such information is taken into account, the wage gap shrinks, and in some cases even reverses.
Feminist groups disserve women by promoting the false idea that the U.S. workplace is overwhelmingly sexist. It encourages unnecessary meddling from the federal government, which could limit women’s job opportunities and workplace flexibility, and discourages women from fully pursuing their ambitions.