Lawmakers request new GAO gender pay study


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 DeLauro (D-Conn.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (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.

Tags Equal pay for equal work Gender pay gap Government Accountability Office Katherine Clark Patty Murray Rosa DeLauro Tammy Duckworth

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