Is McCain’s Senate Office a More Lucrative Workplace for Women Than Obama’s?

By Julia Hoppock

Sep 12, 2008 3:24pm

Conservative columnist Deroy Murdock has an interesting piece today that takes a look at what Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., pay their Senate staffers.

Using the public information compiled on the Web site of the non-partisan group Legistorm, Murdock concludes that, on average, women in McCain’s office are paid more than the men in McCain’s office — $1.04 for every dollar a man makes. Men in Obama’s office make more than women do; female employees make 83 cents for every dollar made by male employees.

Murdock frames this as an issue of pay equity, but it’s not really — if anything, it’s more a matter of a "glass ceiling."

(Or, at least, that’s what feminist groups would likely be saying if the situations were reversed.)

Only one of Obama’s five best-paid Senate staffers is a woman. Of McCain’s five best-paid Senate staffers, three are women.

Of Obama’s top 20 salaried Senate staffers, seven are women. Of McCain’s top 20 salaried Senate staffers, 13 are women.

The Obama campaign does not dispute Murdock’s figures (and neither does the McCain campaign), but Obama campaign spox Ben LaBolt argues that it’s a much different situation on Obama’s presidential campaign.

Obama’s campaign is jam-packed with high-ranking women, LaBolt says, citing Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor Michelle Obama, Chief of Staff Stephanie Cutter, Senior Advisor Linda Douglass, VP Chief of Staff Patti Solis Doyle, VP Communications Director Ricki Seidman, National Finance Chair Penny Pritzker, Policy Director Heather Higginbottom, Domestic Policy Director Neera Tanden, Director of Rapid Response Christina Reynolds, Senior Adviser Anita Dunn, Senior Speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz, Battleground States Director Jen O’Malley, Research Director Devorah Adler, Director of Scheduling and Advance Alyssa Mastromonaco, Chief Financial Officer Marianne Markowitz, Chief Operations Officer Betsy Myers, and the woman whom LaBolt says is the campaign’s highest-paid official, Finance Director Julianna Smoot. (Nice work, Jules.)

How many employees total does Obama consider "senior staffers"? How do the numbers of high-ranking women on the Obama campaign — and their salaries — stack up?

These questions are as yet unanswered.

- jpt

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