Murphy, Frankel cite ’77 cents’ statistic on women’s earnings; their staffs have bigger gender pay gapsby George Bennett | April 14th, 2014
Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy and Lois Frankel joined President Barack Obama and other Democrats last week in promoting “Equal Pay Day” and its much-repeated statistic that women earn 77 cents for every dollar men are paid.
In Murphy’s and Frankel’s congressional offices, the gap between the average earnings of male and female staffers is even greater. Subscribers to MyPalmBeachPost.com can find more detail and context in this week’s Politics column.
A review of House records shows Murphy and Frankel provide similar pay to men and women who hold similar jobs. But women outnumber men in lower-paying jobs on both staffs, dragging down the overall female average compared to men.
The “77 cents” statistic promoted by the American Association of University Women and others — and cited by Murphy here and here and by Frankel here and here — is not a measure of what men and women make in similar jobs. It’s based on the median income for all women in all jobs compared to the median income for all men in all jobs.
Frankel spokesman Jeremy Tomasulo said it’s unfair to compare the national “77 cents” figure to a congressional office.
“First, the oft-cited statistic that women make 77 cents of every dollar men make is a useful tool to describe our economy of 140 million full and part-time workers as a whole,” Tomasulo responded after the Politics column was published. “For instance, by looking at our entire economy we see that occupations dominated by women often earn less than occupations dominated by men. We also see that in many specific occupations, such as computer programming, financial management, medical science, men still earn more than women for comparable work. When using data from a small business, or congressional staff of 12 for that matter, it’s hard to make a meaningful comparison to the overall economy because even one salary can skew the analysis as it did in the examples you used.”