CNN reporter Michelle Kosinski challenged White House press secretary Josh Earnest Wednesday over the administration’s gender pay gap and the failure to act on narrowing it for five years.
She was referring to a Washington Post article, which reported:
The White House has not narrowed the gap between the average pay of male and female employees since President Obama’s first year in office, according to a Washington Post analysis of new salary data.
The average male White House employee currently earns about $88,600, while the average female White House employee earns about $78,400, according to White House data released Tuesday. That is a gap of 13 percent.
In 2009, male employees made an average of about $82,000, compared to an average of $72,700 earned by female employees — also a 13 percent wage gap.
Kosinski pointed out that the White House cites different reasons for the gap in pay than what is used to measure the issue nationwide.
Earnest interrupted before she could finish.
“Just a factual point before we continue this,” Earnest said. “The statistic that’s cited about the country is about 77 cents on the dollar, and I think the White House was 88 cents on the dollar. So the White House is doing appreciably better than the country as a whole probably, but we still have more work to do at the White House. There are a lot of ways to evaluate pay equity, right?”
At issue, Kosinski explained, was that the White House compares equal work to equal pay, but when looking at national data, averages are used.
There are a “variety of measures” to evaluate equal pay for equal work, Earnest said.
“You can look at whether individuals who hold the same title make the same salary” he said. “That’s certainly the case at the White House.”
As an example, Earnest explained that Dan Pfieffer and Valerie Jarrett, both senior advisers to the president are paid the same salary.
“So there is equal pay for equal work that is demonstrated here at the White House,” he said.
Apparently, it’s all in how you spin it.
Watch the exchange here via Real Clear Politics:
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