Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show.
According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).
Calculating the median salary for each gender required some assumptions to be made based on the employee names. When unclear, every effort was taken to determine the appropriate gender.
The Obama campaign on Wednesday lashed out at presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney for his failure to immediately endorse the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, a controversial law enacted in 2009 that made it easier to file discrimination lawsuits.
President Obama has frequently criticized the gender pay gap, such as the one that exists in White House.
“Paycheck discrimination hurts families who lose out on badly needed income,” he said in a July 2010 statement. “And with so many families depending on women’s wages, it hurts the American economy as a whole.”
It is not known whether any female employees at the White House have filed lawsuits under the Ledbetter Act.
The president and his Democratic allies have accused Republicans of waging a “war on women,” and have touted themselves as champions of female equality. Obama’s rhetoric, however, has not always been supported by his actions.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters last week that Obama believes it is “long past the time” for women to be admitted to the traditionally all-male Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters golf tournament.
But the president has demonstrated a strong preference for all-male foursomes in his frequent golf outings, a bias that extends well beyond the putting green and into the Oval Office.
“Women are Obama’s base, and they don’t seem to have enough people who look like the base inside of their own inner circle,” former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers told the New York Times.
In a 2011 article titled “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has a Woman Problem,” TIME magazine’s Amy Sullivan detailed the president’s fondness for male-dominated environments.
“There’s a looseness to Obama when he’s hanging out with the boys club that doesn’t appear in co-ed gatherings,” she wrote. “The president blows off steam on the golf course with male colleagues and friends. He takes to the White House basketball court with NBA stars, men’s college players, and male cabinet members and members of Congress.”
As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama was criticized for paying the women on his campaign staff less than the men, and far less than GOP opponent John McCain paid his female staffers.