Gender Pay Gap in the White House


As a Presidential candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly asserted that he was a trail blazer. The entrepreneur contended that he actively recruited women to the most senior roles in his own companies.  In fact, during an interview with the Washington post in 2015, Trump boasted that when it came to recruiting talented women to the highest ranks, he was “Way ahead of the curve.” Yet, upon observing the staff in the current White House, the numbers tell a different story.


Analysts at the Review Journal and the Academic, Mark J. Perry, from the American Enterprise Institute, have scrutinized the recent White House Annual Report. This documents White House Salaries up to 28th June 2019. They report that the median salary paid to male staff was  $106,000. By comparison the median salary of female staff was less favourable, working out at $80,000.  This indicates that male employees are currently paid around 25% more than females. This gender pay gap far exceeds the National average which was calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be approximately 19% in 2018.


In comparison the gender gap in the last Obama administration was just in excess of 10%. Kathryn Dunn Tenpas from the Brookings Institution states that on the basis of this continuum one would expect more women in the Trump White House. This has clearly not been realised.


The disparity can be attributed, in part, to the reality that more women occupy low paying jobs such as clerical posts. This is not peculiar to The White House but is apparent in many workplaces the length and breadth of the United States. Consequently, blame for this cannot be laid solely at the door of the current occupant of the Oval office.


Nonetheless, in the current Trump administration, there are 22 employees in receipt of the  maximum salary of $183,000. Significantly, these posts are occupied by 15 men and 7 women. This equates to around twice as many men holding the highest paid jobs in Trump’s White House.


Jocelyn Frye from the Centre for American Progress is unsurprised by this. She insists that Trump’s attacks on women in Congress who disagree with him, “sends a terrible message about what it is to treat women as equals in the workplace.”


However, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute has stated; “May the best person get the job. Certainly President Trump is not averse to women who are qualified for the job.”  This could indicate, that for the current Commander in Chief, gender is an irrelevance, in a purely meritocratic hiring process.

However, the President has an opportunity to set an example which in turn could inspire wider social change.  In the afore mentioned interview with the Washington post, Trump insisted; “I have been very very good for women.” The question remains however, are women good enough– for Trump?

Words by Paula Logan

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