Gender Disparity: Female Wages Continue To Lag Behind Men’s Salaries In The House And Senate

Gender Disparity: Female Wages Continue To Lag Behind Men’s Salaries In The House And Senate

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Women who work for Congress make on average $2,200 less annually than male staffers, with the biggest gender pay disparity found this year among Senate Republicans, new salary data reveal.

Women working in the Washington, D.C., and local offices for House and Senate members make on average $57,308 compared to $59,525 for men, according to salary data for 2021 provided by LegiStorm, a nonpartisan company that monitors and researches congressional data. 

The overall wage gap of 96% for women is slightly worse than last year and a retreat from the 2016 benchmark of 98% when the Capitol Hill wage disparity was nearly closed. The salary differences persist despite a record number of women elected to the House and Senate in 2020 and females now accounting for about 27% of the 535 members of both chambers of Congress. 

Senate Republicans, who closed the pay gap considerably in 2020 and fared better than Senate Democrats a year ago, have started off 2021 with the biggest salary disparities between men and women, new data reviewed by Fox News show. 

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The average female Senate GOP staffer made $62,472 for the most recent pay period that covered October 2020 to March 2021, records show. That’s about $4,300 less than the average male Senate GOP staffer who made $66,766. The nearly 94% pay gap is the largest on the Hill by party and chamber.

The five senators, regardless of party, with the largest pay gaps between the average male and average female salaries are Republican Sens. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama (23 female staffers making on average 67% of the average wage of his 15 male employees); Bill Hagerty of Tennessee (14 females making 68% of the 26 males); Dan Sullivan of Alaska (26 females making 70% of the 15 males); Jerry Moran of Kansas (17 females making 71% of the average salary for the 21 males); and Jim Risch of Idaho (22 females making 72% of the average wage of the 16 male employees), according to the data. 

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., listens during a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 11, 2021, on climate change. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP)

Tuberville’s office says the data doesn’t paint the full picture of how the freshman senator “purposefully and intentionally set up his office to be an environment where young women could have career growth opportunities.”

“Over 60% of Sen. Tuberville’s staff are women, with both the state staff and D.C. staff having more female than male staffers,” a Tuberville spokeswoman told Fox News. “The senior staff is equally divided, three and three, between male and female staffers.”

The spokeswoman said Tuberville “is among the leaders in providing women on the Hill opportunities to serve and lead at all levels. We reject any application of the data that suggests female staff are paid inequitably or any differently than similarly situated male staff. That is simply not the case.”

The Senate data ranges from October of 2020 to March 2021, so it overlaps with the new and old Congress and captures newly elected members as they are just setting up their offices.

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Judd Deere, a spokesman for Hagerty’s office, said the GOP freshman values his team. “Sen. Hagerty has assembled an incredible team full of exceptional, diverse talent and expertise who go above and beyond every day to represent and fight for the people of Tennessee,” Deere told Fox News. “The senator values each and every member of his staff and the hard work they do.”

Wage gap is nearly erased for House Democrats 

In contrast, women working for House Democrats fared the best with a nearly nonexistent pay gap of making 99.7% of what male staffers’ earned. The average salary for women on the House Democrats’ payroll for the first quarter of 2021 was $56,709 compared to $56,909 for men. 

Senate Democrats and House Republicans trailed, with each having roughly a 96% pay gap for women on average, followed then by 94% for Senate Republicans. 

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