Not Too Early To #Headdesk: Women Make Less Than Men In 97 Percent Of Congressional Districts
11:30 am, September 25th | by Laura Donovan
If you didn’t have an “it’s Monday, I hate everything” moment yesterday, be prepared for a full day of headdesking and, well, hating everything: in 97 percent of congressional districts (423 out of 435 districts), the median annual income for females is less than that of their male counterparts.
Did you hear me? ALMOST 100 PERCENT OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS PROVIDE HIGHER SALARIES FOR MEN THAN WOMEN. That’s almost all of them. Now you’re hot and bothered like me, and it’s not even noon!
Analyzing U.S. Census Bureau data, the National Partnership for Women & Families made the discovery. The organization also put together this nice (well, that’s not the right word. Helpful works, I suppose) little informational box on the top ten worst districts for ladies. Two are in Louisiana, one is in Virginia, and two are in Indiana. Louisiana women receive 61 cents for every dollar men take home:
It must be said that there’s a chance the women may be paid lower because of the type of position they have selected. Maybe they’re all entry-level employees, who receive less anyway. Earlier this year, The Jane Dough’s Amy Tennery challenged a Fox News contributor on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s pay distribution. According to the Fox journalist, Pelosi’s female staffers are not compensated as well as the politician’s male workers. Tennery wrote:
[I]t’s pretty difficult to draw statistical significance from sample pools of very small sizes. A sample pool like, oh, maybe 18? I say 18 because that’s the maximum number of permanent staffers that a member of congress is allowed to hire (you’re allowed four temp staffers, also). So maybe the women in Nancy Pelosi’s staff get paid 27 percent less — but you’re going to have a tough time credibly establishing a statistical trend here.
Now maybe Pelosi isn’t hiring enough women in senior roles in her office — and I’ll be the first to say that is a problem. But there’s a big difference between hiring men for jobs that (intrinsically) pay more and paying men and women different amounts to do the same job. No one who combats the gender gap thinks that men and women who do different jobs should be paid the same amount. Obviously.
ThinkProgress appears aware of this argument, but would still like to see pay equality for all:
Some dispute the top-line average, claiming that women make choices about the amount they work and the type of work they pursue, which limits their earning power. But these “choices” can also just be limiting factors enforced by an expectation that a woman should stay home to raise children, as well as discrimination that discourages women from pursuing particular career tracks. And that’s not to mention that men out-earn women even in the same exact job.
At the end of the day, there’s no justifying a gender earnings gap in pretty much all congressional districts. End of story.