In case you missed it, the Obama administration has dubbed Tuesday, April 8th “Equal Pay Day” in an effort to
spread the lie raise awareness of the “fact” that, as President Obama puts it, women only make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.
Though numerous media outlets have argued that this statistic is deceptive, if not downright false, the administration has continued to repeat this talking point in press conferences, via social media, and in fundraising emails, all in an effort to draw attention away from the train wreck that is Obamacare (yet another set of numbers the White House can’t seem to get straight).
As Lady K pointed out earlier this week, this number is extremely misleading for a number of reasons:
1. Women are not necessarily paid less for the same job, instead they earn less when comparing yearly earnings, and not even necessarily the same hours.
Interestingly, the New York Times reports that a gender pay gap also exists between members of the White House staff, and when Press Secretary Jay Carney was questioned on the issue earlier this week, he responded:
The 88-cent statistic was misleading because it aggregates the salaries of White House staff members at all levels, including the lowest levels, where women outnumber men. This does not show that same level positions are paid the same.
It seems Mr. Carney doesn’t appreciate the White House’s own math being used against him. Also, in addition to fudging the numbers by comparing two different types of data, the White House is also ignoring the fact that men and women tend to choose different career paths:
2. This so-called “occupational segregation” pushes men and women into, many times, choosing different career paths. Why is this? Clearly, there are careers which attract a specific gender, for whatever reason. These attractions guide the educational choices of college students.
And lastly, many women leave the workforce temporarily (or permanently), not because they were forced to breed by evil misogynistic Republicans, but because they made the choice:
3. Upon entering the workforce, a standout point which affects how a career will go is the family. Like or not, women are the ones who take maternity leave and do a majority of the child care in the home.
It is impossible to continue making this “77 cents” claim without blatantly ignoring these facts. As a woman active in a science field, I recognize that there is most definitely a problem for women in the workplace. It is not, however, a matter of pay. Rather, it is the fact that women are severely underrepresented in the STEM fields. According to the White House’s own page on Women in STEM:
“Women who work in science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM), earn on average 33% more than their counterparts in other fields.”
This fact may be out of date, however, as the page looks to have not been updated in nearly a year. This is likely because Barack Obama, stuck in a permanent campaign, had chosen to waste this opportunity to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM fields and is instead using it as an opportunity to bash Republicans. According to The New York Times:
Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies are trying to portray Republicans as insensitive to the concerns of women, in the hopes of capitalizing on the kind of lopsided female support that helped Mr. Obama win the White House in 2008 and 2012. On Tuesday, Mr. Obama is to sign an executive order barring federal contractors from penalizing employees who discuss their compensation.
Let’s pause for a moment: Why are Democrats so concerned about continuing the War on Women trope if Obama is not up for re-election again? If America is so “ready for Hillary” then locking down the female demographic should be in the bag. Hmm…but I digress.
This executive order won’t actually accomplish much, as it doesn’t change how female employees are paid, and there already exists an abundance of legislation against discrimination in the workplace. This is merely a move on Obama’s part to strengthen his already strong support amongst women. Unfortunately, it is nothing more than political theater.
Ladies, some of you may believe that Republicans are waging a “war on women”, but don’t be fooled by this smooth-talker; President Obama is just telling you what you want to hear. “Equal Pay Day” does nothing but pay lip service to the idea of equal pay, while ignoring the real issue for women in the workplace.