According to a report from the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, the gender pay gap in the Trump White House has more than tripled. AEI found that when the median of pay among White House staffers was taken into account, “the typical female staffer earned 63.2 cents per $1 earned by a typical male staffer.”
On Friday, the White House released its annual salary report as required by Congress. Numerous media outlets reported from those numbers that the gender pay gap in the Trump White House was roughly 20 percent. For example, when Roll Call reported on the salary gap, it found that women in the White House made 80 cents to a man’s dollar by looking at the average salaries (a woman averages $84,500 where men earn on average $105,000). But, as the AEI report notes, when the median is considered rather than the average, the gender pay gap intensifies. At the median, women in the Trump White House earn $72,648 and men earn $115,000. That median point, AEI argues, “reflect[s] what a typical female staffer at the White House is paid compared to what a typical male staffer is paid.” All of the reports exclude unpaid staffers like Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
To be clear here, AEI has long argued that the median is more important than the average when looking at salaries according to gender. The think tank—again very conservative—rejects that the overall pay gap between American women and men is 77 cents to the dollar and has little to say about the widening of the pay gap when race is taken into consideration. Instead, the think tank treats that gap as the result of the kind of work women take—lower paying jobs focused on service or care—as though gender and race weren’t part and parcel of those results. So it’s worth remembering that their correction here is ideologically motivated.
But still, both the average and the median offer an even further indictment of the president’s disregard for women. As Roll Call noted in their report, six of the White House’s top earners (those making the maximum of $179,700) are women, including Kellyanne Conway, Omarosa Manigault, and Hope Hicks. Sixteen of those top earners, however, are men, including Steve Bannon. The gender imbalance isn’t particularly surprising and, frankly, gender parity is no solution to the ills of the Trump White House. A thousand more Kellyanne Conways wouldn’t do anything.
Rather, the sizable gender wage gap is just another footnote in the thousands of books on gender under the Trump administration that are sure to be written. As the Washington Post notes, the president has rolled back fair pay regulations enacted during the Obama era but otherwise has “not made the issue a focus of his presidency.” I suppose I should say something here about Ivanka Trump’s championing of working women, but I can’t bring myself to type the words.