Despite the Obama administration’s heavy reliance on support from American women to advance the president’s agenda, women have suffered economically under his policies.
Women continue to lose jobs in the Obama economy. In March alone, the national unemployment rolls added 180,000 women, bringing the number of female active-job seekers to 4.9 million. That figure excludes the additional 54.7 million women who neither hold a job nor actively sought one in the previous four weeks, as the unemployment rate does not include those who are not actively seeking employment.
Looking at newly created positions, women still fare poorly. Since Obama took office, women have obtained only 38.6 percent of all new jobs, despite their overall participation in the labor force of 46.8 percent. The economy’s negative or slow job growth is having a disparate impact on women.
Meanwhile, government handouts have ballooned out of proportion to the workforce, with food stamp recipients now outnumbering women who work full-time. This has been the case in both of the last two years for which data are available, 2011 and 2012. Otherwise, the last time this happened was three decades ago — when Virginia Slims marketed their cigarettes to women with the slogan “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Three decades later, the Obama administration has taken women back to the future.
In the future that the administration envisions, the so-called “wage gap” is no more, yet this supposedly invidious phenomenon is alive and well in today’s White House. Women on the Obama White House payroll earn only 88 cents for each dollar paid to men. For all the administration’s wage-gap rhetoric, the White House still insists that 88 cents represents “equal pay for equal work” — with only 30 percent of female employees in the administration earning the top salary of $172,200 last year.
Beyond the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, women who work elsewhere in the federal government have also lost ground relative to other federal government employees. The federal workforce’s percentage of females under Obama is the smallest in sixteen years, with women representing only 43.5 percent of federal workers.
In terms of wages, women experience less well-compensated jobs in Obama’s federal work force. For example, in 2013 most of federal employees compensated at the low end of the federal payroll — at the $30,000 to $39,999 level — were women. At increasing levels of compensation, men predominate. Most of the workers at the $40,000 to $49,999 level are male, and the proportion of men skews increasingly higher as compensation increases. For federal employees earning $100,000 to 109,999, only 40 percent are women. At $180,000 and above, only about 32 percent are women.
President Obama gives American women tired ideas based on top-down government control and central planning — raise the minimum wage, close the wage gap and increase federal government aid through programs like food stamps — rather than market-based solutions.
“When women succeed, America succeeds,” declared the president. That’s certainly true enough, and yet the converse is true as well: When women fail, America fails.
First published on The Hill in May 2014