Lawmakers request new GAO gender pay study

Lawmakers request new GAO gender pay study
© iStock

Four members of Congress have requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a new review of gender pay inequity in the federal workforce, including the implications of race and ethnicity on pay.

"It has been nearly a decade since GAO last addressed these critical issues," Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — FDA says Juul illegally marketed e-cigarettes | AMA warns against vaping after deaths | Two Planned Parenthood clinics to close in Ohio Overnight Health Care: Watchdog details severe trauma suffered by separated children | Judge approves B CVS-Aetna merger | House Dem Caucus chair backs 'Medicare for All' MORE (D-Conn.), Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.), Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkTen notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Fourth-ranking House Democrat backs Trump impeachment MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthMissouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall MORE (D-Ill.) wrote in a letter to GAO.

The last GAO study, conducted in 2009, found an 11 percent pay gap between men and women in 2007.


Though that gap was smaller than the national average, GAO could not explain the 7 percent wage differential even after accounting for a slew of factors such as occupation, geography, education and management level, raising the possibility of unequal pay for equal work.

The letter cited an analysis from The Hill which found that, based on the unexplained portion of the gap, female federal workers that year may have been underpaid as much as $4,942 relative to men for the same work. 

"This is a significant loss in pay that hinders the federal government's ability to recruit and retain talented individuals who want to contribute their skills to serve and help solve the major economic, social and security problems of the 21st century," the letter said.

The group also asked GAO to examine how effective federal efforts to enforce anti-pay discrimination laws have been, and how gender and race affect the promotion and hiring rates in the government.