On Wednesday, Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) participated in a press conference calling for an end to the so-called “gender pay gap,” urging their Senate counterparts to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
But the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday that Murray, Boxer and Feinstein all paid their female staffers less than their male counterparts in 2011.
“Murray, who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a ‘war a women,’ is one of the worst offenders,” Andrew Stiles wrote.
According to Stiles, female staffers working for Murray “made about $21,000 less per year than male staffers in 2011, a difference of 35.2 percent,” which Stiles says is “well above the 23 percent gap that Democrats claim exists between male and female workers nationwide.”
The figure is based on a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, and is technically accurate. However, as CNN’s Lisa Sylvester has reported, when factors such as area of employment, hours of work, and time in the workplace are taken into account, the gap shrinks to about 5 percent.
Ironically, Murray said that “[w]hen women aren’t paid what they deserve, middle class families and communities pay the price,” according to a press release sent by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) on Wednesday.
“As a mother and a grandmother, I want my children to live in a country where our daughters can expect to earn just as much as our sons,” Murray said.
“It’s time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to tackle this issue head-on and continue working to close the pay gap for working women and their families,” she added.
We contacted Sen. Murray’s Washington, D.C. office, but could not get a response.
Stiles also reported that the gap was much wider in Sen. Feinstein’s office. On average, female staffers were paid 41 percent less than their male counterparts in 2011.
“Women in the workplace, women who head households or earn the only paycheck in a family, know the gender wage gap is not a myth. It is wrong, it hurts families, it hurts the economy, and the Paycheck Fairness Act is our chance to fix it,” Feinstein said Wednesday.
Female staffers in Sen. Boxer’s office fared somewhat better in 2011, with a 7.3 percent difference in pay.
“Women working for Senate Democrats in 2011 pulled in an average salary of $60,877,” Stiles wrote. “Men made about $6,500 more.”
One of the most egregious examples Stiles cited was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), an avowed socialist who caucuses with Democrats and frequently claims Republicans are engaging in a war on women. Stiles reported that women in Sander’s office were paid 47.6 percent less than their male colleagues in 2011.
“Like many of his fellow partisans,” Stiles wrote, “he has previously accused Republicans of ‘trying to roll back the clock on women’s rights.’”
In another ironic twist, Senate Democrats have used the social media site Twitter to advance the cause of equal pay – even as they pay female staffers less than their male counterparts.
“In 19 of the 20 most common occupations for men or women, women earn less for the same work. We need #EqualPay,” Senate Democrats tweeted Tuesday.
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