Last week, several media outlets reported that the gender pay gap at President Donald Trump’s White House is pretty staggering: Women, on average, make about 80 cents for each dollar that men make.
But a new report from the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) argues that it’s even worse than that: In Trump’s White House, women make 63.2 cents for every dollar that men make.
The difference comes from how the gender pay gap is calculated. The initial media reports from CNN and Roll Call calculated the gap based on average wages. But AEI scholar Mark Perry argues that the standard, based on past reports about the national pay gap, is to use median wages.
The result is women face a whopping 36.8 percent pay gap at the White House under Trump. That’s more than triple what AEI calculated for President Barack Obama’s White House during his last year in office, in which women made 89.25 cents for every $1 men made — a 10.75 percent gender pay gap.
So far, it doesn’t seem like the White House is very interested in making any of this better. Although Ivanka Trump has paid some lip service to the gender pay gap, Trump himself pulled back Obama-era fair pay regulations and ignored Equal Pay Day this year.
AEI is a conservative think tank, and it doesn’t argue that the gender pay gap is a result of discrimination. Instead, Perry argues that the gap is more a result of other factors, including the kinds of jobs women tend to take and gender differences in continuous years of work (which can be interrupted more easily for women by, say, having a child).
Of course, one could argue those other factors are also a result of systemic sexism. My colleague Sarah Kliff has much more on that part of the debate in her great explainer, which you should definitely read.