In an attempt to distract from the latest “War on Women” media coverage and Mitt Romney’s plunging support with female voters, Republicans started pushing a story around last week about the pay differential between women and men working at the White House. According to the Washington Free Beacon: “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).”
It’s important to note here that the Free Beacon does not provide data for review, which should already raise questions about the validity of their findings. It’s also important to note that they used the median salary, the salary that falls right in the middle of the list, as opposed to simply averaging the values. We assume this choice was made because the difference appears larger when using this measure. We found similar discrepancies between median and average in our data set, but more on that in a minute.
We also found out this week that Governor Kasich is gearing up to start supporting Romney. And we wondered how John Kasich would do if we applied the same test to him. We had low expectations given the fact that Kasich famously defended his own failure to appoint women cabinet members by saying “I’m married to a woman with two daughters, OK?” adding “I’ve said all along, I really wish I could get some guys around me.” It turns out we were correct to have doubts.
We reviewed the salaries of state employees listed as Governor’s Office staff** on the DAS state employee salary list as of 3/24/2012 – the most recent data set available – and identified each of the staffers as male or female. And then we looked at the numbers.
First, the good news. Of the 34 staffers listed as Governor’s Office employees, half appear to be men and half women. Unfortunately the salary distribution is completely skewed toward men.
Of the 34 people listed as Governor’s office employees, only 4 of the top 17 paid staffers are women (76% are men). And only 4 of the bottom 17 are men (76% are women). The chart below shows the distribution, with women listed in yellow and men in blue.
The hard numbers are even worse.
If we take the average yearly salaries for men and women, we end up with a 56% difference in favor of men:
If we use the median, which is the same measure used in the Obama staff salary analysis, we end up with an even larger difference: 106%!
When you look at median income, Obama’s White House “may” pay women 18% less than men. But Republican Governor John Kasich pays his female staffers 106% less! The Obama pay story is a cute little distraction for Republicans offering them a few hours of rest from defending their own record on women’s issues. But when you look at the President’s numbers compared to Republicans like Kasich, the accusations look pretty pathetic.
Mitt Romney needs to win Ohio if he wants to be President, and he needs to get his poll numbers up with women voters. Typically that means a LOT of campaigning with Ohio Republicans, specifically Ohio’s top Republican office holder: Governor Kasich. But with Kasich’s approval ratings in the toilet, and his history of issues with diversity, I predict smart Romney strategists are currently scrambling to find someone else to send on the campaign trail with Mitt instead of Mr. “I really wish I could get some guys around me” Kasich.
** Note: this list does not include staff like Jai Chabria who are listed under other departments. But given the large salaries of Chabria and other male staff members that Kasich has “hidden” at the departments, I guarantee the numbers would be skewed even higher favor of men if we included them in our list.