Last April on the faux-holiday Equal Pay Day, created by liberal feminists to mark the extra three and a half months a woman supposedly needs to work to earn the same as her male counterparts, the White House ran into a little trouble.
It turns out that that 77-cent wage gap statistic women’s groups and Democrats have been repeating ad nauseum for years, isn’t quite accurate. Well, yes, we all already know this – in fact, IWF has been leading the charge to push back on this faulty statistic and myth that sexism runs rampant in the workplace for a long time. But it was rather satisfying to hear Betsey Stevenson, a member of the esteemed White House Council of Economic Advisers acknowledge during a press conference that, “If I said 77-cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke.”
Stevenson was indirectly referencing the fact that the 77-cent statistic is a comparison of averages taken from the Department of Labor that compares full time working-men to full time working-women. Not only is this number out-dated –if you compare averages today women make about 82 cents for every dollar a man makes – but more importantly it doesn’t control for any number of important factors that go into salary determinations: college major, time spent out of the workplace, time spent in the office each day, etc. And Betsey Stevenson and the White House knows this and knows that when you compare for such factors the so-called wage gap largely disappears. (See more here for a better understanding of the issue.)
Still that didn’t stop Stevenson and the White House who sent out an email this morning in honor of the 94th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. (See what Hadley already wrote about the anniversary here.)Yet instead of a message of enthusiasm and excitement for women’s achievements in the nearly 100 years since they received the vote, the message from Washington continues to be one of negativity and disappointment: That women and girls still lag behind men, that the workplace and society still don’t provide equal opportunities to women, and that life in America is still underwhelming:
In 2014, inequality and discrimination live on. Women, on average, continue to earn less than their male counterparts (and that's 51 years after the Equal Pay Act passed), and the gap is even greater for women of color. Our workplace policies, on the whole, force many working parents to choose between their job and their family — and that's wrong.
This Administration has a long history of shattering our remaining glass ceilings and upholding the rights of women — but real gender equality is going to take more than the President acting alone.
The bottom line is the White House is grasping for straws. Challenges will always persist and we will continue to work as a society to improve the lives of all Americans, including women. But women and girls today have more freedom and opportunity than ever before, and that’s something to be celebrated – not politicized. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could stop and enjoy the progress women have made rather than using women as pawns for political gain?