Jarrett defends White House pay for women

Senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett defended the White House’s pay policies Wednesday, after Republican businesswoman Carly Fiorina noted that women working for the president, on average, made less then men.

Fiorina, appearing with Jarrett on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” argued President Obama “hasn’t really led” on the issue in his own administration.

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“He's not paying women equally by his own measures in his own White House. … Why wouldn't the White House take on the seniority system and say, ‘Let's pay women by merit and by their results?’ ” Florina said.

Jarrett responded by stressing that in the White House, “women do earn equal pay for equal work.”

Salary data released by the White House last year showed that the average female employee earns about $78,400 while the average male employee earns about $88,600, according to an analysis done by The Washington Post.

That’s because although men and women are paid at the same rate in similar jobs, there are more women holding lower-level and lower-paying jobs, creating a 13 percent gap.

Critics of the administration say it’s a fair metric to use, because the president routinely cites the figure that the salaries of women working full time are, on average, just 77 percent of what men make.

Obama renewed his call for equal pay legislation in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, saying it would “make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families.”

Jarrett said the bill being touted by the White House would make it easier for women to share information about their salaries with other employees to make sure they weren’t being discriminated against.

“There’s no good reason why Congress hasn’t passed the Paycheck Fairness Act,” Jarrett said. “And if they don’t think that does the job, what’s their solution?”