Recent data suggests a Black woman must work 19 months to earn the amount of money a white man makes in one year.
But the Trump administration on Tuesday moved to scrap an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employer survey intended to root out this very kind of gender pay disparity. Among the most notable backers of the decision was Ivanka Trump, who has cast herself as the Trump administration’s advocate for women workers.
“Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” Ivanka Trump said in a statement, as Newsweek reported. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, [the Office of Management and Budget], Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.”
The gender wage gap costs U.S. women $10,470 a year in lost wages, according to a recent analysis by the National Partnership for Women & Families. Women in the United States make 80 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women of color fare worse. Black women are typically paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men, while Latinas earn just 54 cents.
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During the Obama administration, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission acknowledged discrimination plays a role in gender wage disparity. Last year, the Obama administration amended an EEOC employer survey to begin collecting detailed salary data in a dozen new “pay bands,” on top of the data the agency collects already on race, gender, ethnicity, and job category. The new data, according to the order signed September 29, 2016, was intended to help the agency assess “potential Title VII and Equal Pay Act violations and to assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces.”
Pay equity advocates called the Trump administration’s decision to scrap the new, more comprehensive survey a “blatant attack” on women and people of color.
“At a time when gender- and race-based wage gaps are punishing working people, families and our economy, identifying and addressing pay disparities should be a priority,” Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said in a statement. “This is egregious interference with a years-long effort to identify the fairest, most efficient way to collect pay data from employers without being overly burdensome.”
Business groups that oppose pay equity programs have blasted the new survey. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in February asked the Trump administration to nix the EEOC order, claiming U.S. companies would spend $400 million annually to complete the updated survey.
The EEOC estimated the annual survey would take companies about 17 hours annually to complete. Officials with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on Monday said the decision to “review and stay” the order wouldn’t bar its efforts to “encourage” employers to close the gender wage gap.
The Trump administration has one of the worst gender pay gaps in recent years, according to an analysis by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. Female staffers in the Trump White House are paid about 63 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make, as the Huffington Post reported. The Trump administration’s 37 percent gender pay gap is far worse than the 25 percent wage gap during the George W. Bush presidency and the 11 percent pay gap in the last year of the Obama administration.
The pay disparity doesn’t appear to be isolated, according to a recent civil rights complaint. A former Trump campaign field organizer in January accused the campaign of denying her opportunities and paying male workers more than female staffers, as the New York Times reported.