White House reports 56% of hires are women, pay gap narrowed

Politics
Joe Biden, Jill Biden

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 1, 2021, to board Marine One on their way for a brief stop to switch on Air Force One at nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Md., that will take them to Florida. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has filled about 56% of his senior White House staff positions with women, including about 36% who come from racially and-or ethnically diverse backgrounds, according the White House.

The Biden administration published the gender and pay analysis of its staff on Thursday as it delivered a required annual report to Congress listing the title and salary of every White House office employee.

The administration said the data shows it is “the most diverse administration in history” and also has only a narrow pay gap between men and women on staff.

The average salary for women in the administration is $93,752, while men average $94,639, representing about a 1% pay gap.

That compares with a 37% gender pay gap in President Donald Trump’s administration during his first year in office, while President Barack Obama’s pay gap was 16% at the same point in his presidency, according to an American Enterprise Institute analysis of staff salaries.

“In alignment with the president’s commitment to diversity and pay equity, the White House has taken significant steps to ensure the White House staff reflects the diversity of the country and the highest standards of economic and social justice for all,” the White House said in a statement accompanying its report to Congress.

Overall, about 60% of Biden’s White House staff is female. Women make up about 50.8% of the American population, according the 2019 U.S. Census, and they make up a 47.0% share within the labor force as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Biden, 78, during the campaign sought to fend off suggestions that an older white man wasn’t the right person for the presidency at a moment when the nation is grappling with issues like racial injustice and huge pay gaps between men and women.

He sought to frame himself as a transitional candidate who would bake equity into his personnel and policy decisions as president. He picked Kamala Harris for vice president and has pledged to name the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court if given the opportunity.

Biden last week signed an executive order to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility and hired the White House’s first chief diversity and inclusion director.

The most powerful members of Biden’s inner circle — chief of staff Ron Klain, counselor Steve Ricchetti, senior adviser Mike Donilon, senior adviser Anita Dunn and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell — are all white. Senior adviser Cedric Richmond, who is Black, has also emerged as an influential voice inside the administration.

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