Scott: I have got Tom in the studio with me now, and he is working on a story about the pay gap between the genders and closing that gap, right?
Tom: That is right, Scott. It is all over the headlines: is there a difference in pay between men and women? Well, it turns out the answer might be a little more complicated than you think.
It has been a heated debate for years: do men make more money than women?
Man: To my knowledge, yes. You hear about it all the time in the news.
Man: I think with men and women, you both get an equal pay.
Woman: Men get paid more than women.
Tom: Well, the answer is yes, but by how much is up for debate. The statistic from the Census Bureau is a woman in America makes 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. It has been a popular talking point with the White House in the past couple of years.
President Obama: On average, a woman still earns just 77 cents.
Obama: But they still make 77 cents.
Obama: The average, full-time, working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.
Tom: But some say if you look at the total picture it is not that black and white. The census study the 77 cents is based off of does not account for differences in occupations, hours worked and work experience. That being said, the gap still exists and is far from a myth.
Yesterday marked National Equal Pay Day.
Obama: Equal Pay Day means that a woman has to work about this far into 2014 to earn what a man earned in 2013.
Tom: Because if you start in January of 2013, a woman would have to work a whole year plus January, February, March, and part of April in 2014 to earn the same as a man would make in just one year.
To mark Equal Pay Day the president signed two executive orders to promote pay equality. First, federal contract workers are allowed to discuss their salaries. Second, federal contractors must report salary data to the Labor Department, and break it down by gender and race.
But with the rollout came another statistic. Critics say even the White House shows a substantial gap when it comes to equal pay across the board, if you look at the numbers. According to a study based on White House salary data, the median annual salary for a woman in the White House is $65,000, whereas the median salary for a man is almost $74,000. That translates to 88 cents on the dollar. But the White House says men and women in the same positions make the same pay and that the statistics are misleading.
Jay Carney: Women who do the same work as men have to be paid the same. There is no question that that is happening here at the White House.
Tom: The White House says the gap in pay is because of differences in experience, education and hours worked. And Republicans say those same differences apply to private employers too.
Eric Cantor: They’ve got a problem in the White House, but again let’s put the politics aside then and do something that actually works.
Tom: Democrats in the Senate are working on a bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act designed to equalize pay by making it easier for workers to sue companies that pay women less because of gender. But the bill is not expected to go very far when it hits the floor of the Republican-controlled House.