POLITICS

No, Elizabeth Warren Doesn't Pay Women Less Than Men

The reports from conservative outlets are based on incomplete data.

WASHINGTON― On Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, the Washington Free Beacon misleadingly accused Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) of paying women 30 percent less than men in her own office in 2016. That certainly would be hypocritical of her, as she regularly decries the gender pay gap in America.

But a look at the full salary data for Warren’s office reveals that she has actually paid women slightly more than men during her three years in the Senate. The median salary for Warren’s female employees since she was elected in 2012 is $44,108, according to publicly available pay data compiled by her office and reviewed by The Huffington Post. The median salary for men over the same time period was $43,348. This paints quite a different picture from the Free Beacon story, which was gleefully picked up by other conservative outlets, including Fox News, Breitbart and the Daily Caller. 

The Free Beacon claimed women earned 71 cents for every dollar men earned in Warren’s office, based on incomplete salary data from fiscal year 2016. This would be significantly worse than the pay gap in the United States, where women working full-time earn an average of 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. But the analysis only included people who had been employed by Warren’s office the entire year, which excluded, among others, Warren’s all-time highest paid staffer, Mindy Myers. Myers was earning $170,000 a year as Warren’s chief of staff in the first quarter of fiscal year 2016. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hired her as its first female executive director in December. 

The Free Beacon also claimed Warren is only paying one woman more than $100,000, compared to five men. This leaves out Kaaren Hinck, who worked for Warren for half of last year earning $118,000. And Lauren Miller, Warren’s digital director, earns half of her roughly $120,000 salary from Warren’s senate office and half from the campaign ― but the Free Beacon did not include the latter half in its analysis. 

That said, because some of Warren’s top-paid female staffers were promoted to other places in 2016 and replaced by men, that year was not the best her office has performed in terms of comparative median pay. Warren’s state strategic advisor, Tracey Lewis, left in 2015 to work for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But even considering those staff changes, the overall pay for the office favors women, and Warren has always paid women as much as men with the same job titles.

A Warren aide said that the senator takes pay equity seriously and that her record speaks for itself. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story referred to the mean salaries for men and women in Warren’s office. In fact, the data was about the median salaries.