This story was published in partnership with The 19th, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.
During the Republican National Convention, the high-ranking women in Donald Trump’s White House tried to make the case for the president’s commitment to gender equality.
Outgoing adviser Kellyanne Conway called him “a champion for women.” Brooke Rollins, acting director of the Domestic Policy Council, went further, saying Trump has more women in his top team “than any president before.”
A video flashed through images of women who advise the president, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. A voiceover intoned: “President Trump has proven that when the stakes are highest, he is proud to entrust many of our nation’s most crucial jobs to women.”
The rhetoric, however, belies the reality in the Trump White House, particularly when it comes to the gender pay gap, a key measure of gender parity.
An analysis by The 19th of the 2020 median salaries in the Trump White House found a $33,300 chasm between the median salary for male staffers ($106,000) and the median salary for female staffers ($72,700).
Former Vice President Joe Biden has increased his lead over President Donald Trump in a new poll. (Photo: AP)
That means women make nearly 69 cents on the male $1 — worse than the national gender pay gap of 82 cents on the dollar.
The numbers reflect what economists call the “raw” gender pay gap, meaning they don’t adjust for experience, education, title or other factors. The national figure is also a reflection of the raw gender pay gap. Neither is a full representation of the entire picture, leaving out the complexities of persisting occupational segregation and the challenges of access that still plague women trying to move up to positions of leadership.
But stacked against each other, they do show a persisting pay gap between men and women. (The Trump administration does not appear to have any staffers who identify as nonbinary, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality).
“To avoid addressing structural and institutional gender discrimination in terms of pay equity, the go-to is to talk about position and title when, in fact, that’s not what’s driving pay inequity,” said C. Nicole Mason, the president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “It’s decisions that are being made from the top down about the valuing of women’s work and how much they should be paid.”
The issue of pay inequity has plagued past administrations too. Women in President Barack Obama’s White House were paid between about 84 and 89 cents for every $1 paid to male staffers, though that gap was narrower than the one in the Trump White House and narrower, too, than the national gender pay gap in those years.
The gender pay gap widened from 89 cents on the dollar in 2016 during the final year Obama was in office, to 63 cents on the dollar the first year Trump was in office, according