Indeed, as Amy Otto notes, a recent puff piece on Jay Carney in The Washingtonian, though largely mocked for its photoshop errors, inadvertently revealed the gender-gap cause: Carney’s wife, high-profile journalist Claire Shipman, “works part-time now for ABC News, something she’s done for five years, which has given her more flexibility to write and hang out with her children. Flexibility, she says, is what most working mothers really want.”
That’s probably right, but part-time jobs that give you flexibility to hang out with your kids generally don’t pay as much as hard-charging jobs that keep you at the office all night. And would it be fair to the office all-nighters if they did?
Then it turned out that the Obama White House itself pays women workers less than men. White House Press Secretary Carney didn’t mention his wife’s choices, but did argue that the number was misleading because women held different jobs. Well, yes. Federal law says you have to pay people the same for the same work; it doesn’t say you have to pay secretaries the same as press secretaries. This is true both in the White House, and in the private businesses that the White House was attacking.