If activists are going to use median annual salaries to claim women are paid less than men, then they ought to be consistent and call out President Obama's White House.
Female staffers in the White House earn 89 cents for ever dollar that male staffers earn. That's on par with one of the numbers often reported for the misleading "gender wage gap," which finds women earning 77 or 78 or 89 cents to a man's dollar.
American Enterprise Scholar Mark J. Perry, who analyzed the White House data, found the median salary for the White House's 271 female staffers to be $68,658, while the median salary for the 198 male staffers was $76,928 in 2016.
"Therefore, female staffers in the Obama White House currently earn 89.25% of the median salary for male staffers, or 89.25 cents for every $1 men earn, and there is a 10.75% gender pay gap at the Obama White House," Perry wrote. "That pay gap is slightly smaller than the 15.8% gender pay gap at the White House last year, but is still more than 2.5 times greater than the average gender pay gap for the Washington, D.C., labor market of only 4% according to the most recent data available from the Department of Labor."
So we could say the White House is near the median of virulent sexism, except that we know the reason for the earnings gap, and it isn't sexism. A variety of factors, such as occupation choice, hours worked, and taking time off to raise children result in women earning less on average than men.
That is not to say that men and women doing the same job with the same experience at the same company earn different salaries. Outside of an occasional anecdote, no one has been able to prove discrimination is the cause of any remaining gap not explained by the different choices men and women make in their careers, including field, number of hours worked, etc.
Activists, naturally, don't want to acknowledge that Obama's White House pays women less because, as they're almost exclusively all Leftists. They would have to tie themselves in knots to explain how this pay gap is different from some other pay gap.
But it's not different — it uses the same over-simplistic measurement as all similar derivations of the gap. The main reason women earn less in the Obama White House is that more senior positions are occupied by men and more junior positions are occupied by women. You can judge the intention here for yourself, but if you're going to make excuses for Obama, you might want to apply the same excuses to any other employer where this is the case. For example, a White House eager to give a foot in the door to as many women as possible would naturally have a higher percentage of women in junior roles.
If this leads to a rise of more women eventually to senior positions, the change will be natural and not forced by Congress, although it does show the Obama administration's push to hire more women. Men and women working the same job at the White House earn the same pay, the administration has been clear about this. But the administration is not so keen to note those caveats when it comes to employers outside the federal government.
And, granted, the White House earnings gap is smaller than the earnings gap among all workers across the country, but it is still an illustration that there is more to the "wage gap" than activists will tell you.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.