Society

It’s Not a Women’s White House

Gender pay gap triples under Trump and White House Council on Women and Girls goes dark.

It’s Not a Women’s White [...]

Suffragists picketing in front of the White House, 1917 (Library of Congress)

Everyone is aware that the White House doesn’t have its first female occupant. Now it seems that it’s set to be even less female-friendly. A recent study found that the wage gap between men and women is greater in the White House than in society at large — 80 cents on the dollar rather than 82. But that’s using an average. If you get down to actually comparing the median salaries of men and women who work at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the disparity becomes more stark. The Washington Post has the story:

The pay gap between male and female White House staffers has more than tripled in the first year of the Trump administration, according to an analysis by economist Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

The median female White House employee is drawing a salary of $72,650 in 2017, compared to the median male salary of $115,000. “The typical female staffer in Trump’s White House earns 63.2 cents per $1 earned by a typical male staffer,” Perry writes.

The 37 percent gender pay gap in President Trump’s White House is more than double the 17 percent gender pay gap nationally. According to the Pew Research center, the Trump White House gender gap is wider than the national gender pay gap stood in 1980.

But that’s not all. President Trump is reportedly letting the White House Council on Women and Girls go dark. As in the case with the Mexico City Rule, getting rid of a Democratic predecessor’s designated office on women’s issues seems par for the course (George W. Bush disbanded Clinton’s White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach). The rationale is a familiar one: to combat redundancies in agencies and institutions. After all, Health and Human Services will address women’s health, Education will take on girls and STEM and on and on.

Indeed, Patrice Onwuka writes for the Washington Examiner that it might be time for the office to go:

Signals that the Trump administration may disband the White House Council on Women and Girls have set off a new round of attacks against President Trump. But there’s no malice in objectively assessing whether this office is needed to advance the concerns of girls and women, or to ask whether it’s just a tool to advance a narrow set of issues and solutions.

But advocates for women say that nothing can send a message about the priority of women and women’s issues than a dedicated commitment, and a dedicated office, for women’s affairs. Ivanka Trump is now widely seen as the go-to person on women’s issues at the White House.

Can we say that these are symptoms of a wider disease? Perhaps not, but it is interesting to note that for the first time in years a dress code that prohibits women from having bare shoulders in the speaker’s chamber is being enforced. Vice President Pence has made it clear that he won’t be dining alone with women other than his wife. And Department of Education head Betsy DeVos reportedly met with men’s rights groups in her mission to re-evaluate college rape and Title IX implementations at US colleges and universities. Of course, this last issue is a very nuanced one, you can get more information on DeVos, campus rape and Title IX from The New York Times.

 
Read more installments in our series “While He was Tweeting” — keeping an eye on Trump’s wrecking ball.

Kristin Miller

Kristin Miller is a senior producer for Billmoyers.com. She has worked on Now with Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason, Moyers on America and Bill Moyers Journal. She’s also been a producer for TED, Sesame Street and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.