The Washington state Republican party cut the pay for its chair person by about $20,000 just before a Susan Hutchinson was elected to the position. Her male predecessor made $95,000 a year, while she now makes $75,000.
Hutchinson tried to convince the executive committee to make her pay equal with what it was before she took the position, but her request was denied, which she called “discriminatory and vindictive” and said that it “defies the concept of equal pay for equal work, playing into the ‘war on women’ narrative against Republicans.” She said she left the meeting “demoralized.” Party leaders say they cut the pay for the position due to budgetary issues.
Republican sources told the Seattle Times that they objected to her bringing up the war on women and claimed “there is no war on women,” as the pay for the party chair had been discussed for a long time.
Hutchinson is not alone in feeling that a man in her position would be paid more. About a third of working women feel the same way. Thirteen percent say they have been denied a raise because of their gender.
Women on average make just 77 percent of what men make, and the gap is much larger for women of color. They make less than men no matter what job they take or what industry they enter. The gap between men’s earnings and women’s starts as soon as they graduate college and follows them no matter how many higher degrees they get.
Even if they reach the top ranks of a company — or, in Hutchinson’s case, the top ranks of their political party — they will make less than their male counterparts.
But Hutchinson is luckier than many women: she knew that she was being paid less than a man who had the same job. About half of all workers are either prohibited or strongly discouraged from sharing salary information with coworkers, a big impediment to finding out if they are being paid less thanks to discrimination.