Thursday, July 12, 2012

Catch of the Day

Today's goes to National Journal's Matt Berman, who noticed something big in data on Congressional staff salaries: in offices of Democrats, women made 97% of what men make, but in the offices of Republican Members of Congress women make...ready for it?...$10,000 less than men, or just 84% of what men make. That's on the House side; the Senate side differences are smaller, but the partisan gap remains.

Berman doesn't go beyond the numbers to find out whether the disparity is because Republicans hire fewer high-level women or because Republicans pay women less for the same job. My guess is that it's the former, but that's just a guess.

Of course, this goes with the huge partisan gender gap for Members of Congress. Recall that there are currently 12 Democratic women in the Senate compared with only 5 Republican women, and 49 women are Democratic Members of the House compared with only 24 Republican women. It's also worth remembering that the gap is almost completely a post-Thomas phenomenon: the Congress elected in 1988 had only three more Democratic women than Republican women. And it's not going away anytime soon, as David S. Bernstein has been reporting.

Whether this has either electoral or policy consequences is an open question, but an interesting one, I'd say. Regardless, it's another useful piece of information, no? I think so -- and nice catch!


  1. Conservative women may be more likely to take leave of their jobs/careers for family reasons. This is one of the reasons women make less than men -- they never reach the same status because of disruptions caused by their lifestyle. The way around this is to put one's career first and foremost, which Democrats may be more likely to do. That's my best guess.

    1. I think EMILY's list has helped Democratic women raise the funds needed to win Congressional primaries, and there is no comparable group helping Republican women win their primaries in winnable seats for their party. Or at least no group nearly as effective as EMILY's list is on the Democratic side.

    2. Anon, what does that have to do with Congressional salaries?


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