The Glass Ceiling Still Exists

There was an article in yesterday’s Post Register about the glass ceiling in the governor’s Cabinet in Idaho. According to an investigation by the Idaho Statesman, women in the Cabinet make $17,500 less than men, when comparing median salaries.

The article quoted many people in the Cabinet and Idaho’s state employees on the reason for this gap, with all agreeing that it was not based on gender, but on the clout of the departments, the size of the departments, and other factors not related to the gender of the department heads.

I would tend to give them the benefit of the doubt, since I am not a member of Idaho’s Cabinet nor an employee of the state of Idaho, but I think it is very suspicious that in the case of two departments cited in the article, Agriculture and Commerce, the one run by a man (Commerce) is a smaller department with fewer employees (53) and yet he makes $38,000 more than the woman who runs the Agriculture department with 259 employees. And she has been in her position since 2007, and he only began his time in his position in October of last year.

I thought the most telling quotation, however, came at the very end of the article, from Tana Cory, head of the Division of Human Resources and the second-lowest paid person in the Cabinet.

“As a dedicated-fund agency, any increases would be passed on to our licensees, and I am sensitive to that in our current economy,” Cory said. “Additionally, my focus is not on my own salary but on the salaries of those who work for the bureau. So, when we have an increase in (pay), I prefer to pass on as much as possible to the employees.”

So her concern for her clients is overriding both her boss and her best interests.

Whatever the reason, I think that this pay discrepancy between the men and women in Idaho’s Cabinet is unacceptable.

You can read the entire article here (pay subscription link) or here (AP link, I think it is free).

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