What Do the Candidates Have to Say About The Gender Pay Gap?

by | January 7, 2016 | Gender Discrimination, Harassment

There are several ways to get at this question. The campaign gristmills produce ample material –comments to the press, debate statements, stump speeches, tweets, YouTube videos. And, of course, with a few notable exceptions, most candidates have some legislative record. Several commentators have already sifted through this content to discern positions on pay equity (including, a post on this blog by my colleague Ali Harwin, who analyzes the debates).

Today, I just want to look at candidate websites. My basic theory is that these websites should at least tell us which issues the campaigns prioritize. If pay equity doesn’t appear on a candidate’s site, then, absent some unique circumstances, I probably can’t count on that candidate to lead on the issue.

So, employing a very unscientific Google and website search, I tried to see what the current candidates say on their webpages about gender pay equity.

It turns out, mostly nothing. Only two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, specifically address the issue. According to their websites, both candidates back the Paycheck Fairness Act, which amends the procedures, remedies, and defenses available under Equal Pay Act of 1963. They also both support increasing the federal minimum wage, which would increase the wages of millions of women, who are more likely than men to have low wage jobs. While the candidate’s differ in their presentation of the issue (Hillary’s site emphasizes her strong legislative record, while Bernie’s advances more detailed proposals), pay equity appears squarely on both candidates’ radars. They pass my unverified litmus test.

The rest of the field fails.