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Jon Fleischman

Hypocrisy of State Legislature Revealed: “Glass Ceiling” Barrier to Female Staffers?

Over at the Pacific Research Institute’s CalWatchDog website FlashReport’s Senior Editor, John Hrabe has published an eye-opening column, CA Assembly Pays Women Less; Fewer In Top Staff Positions.

After spending a vast amount of time pulling, sorting and analyzing data from public records of the California legislature, Hrabe has discovered, in essence, that the Emperor has No Clothes.  While the liberal Democrats who run the State Assembly spend their time issuing platitudes on the top of gender equality and “breaking the glass ceiling” — it turns out that if you are a woman, your path to the top jobs and the higher salaries is a tougher one than you would have expected.

Some bullet points lifted from Hrabe’s insightful analysis:

  • Women are 9 times more likely to work as a secretary.
  • Men are nearly twice as likely to serve as a highly-paid chief consultant.
  • The 10 highest-paid employees of the state Assembly are all men.
  • Women fill only 35 percent of the Assembly’s chief-of-staff positions, the top staff slot for each elected representative.
  • The average woman employed by the Assembly makes $5,640 less per year than the average man.
  • Men represent 62 percent of the Assembly’s Top 100 highest-paid employees. The Top 50 highest-paid men make, on average, $19,880 more per year than the Top 50 highest-paid women.

There are many more insights to be gleaned from the article, which I commend to your reading.  Hrabe has indicated that a similar analysis of the State Senate is being released shortly.

This study exposes a hypocrisy from legislative Democrats who spend much time putting out there that gender equality in the workplace is a high priority.

Unmentioned in Hrabe’s piece, — the California legislature has exempted itself from many of the labor laws in this state concerning the hiring of employees.  Most specifically legislative staffers are non “civil servants” but rather are “at-will” hires.  Legislators are not obliged to go through interviews and such — they can hire whomever they would like, period.  Which means they have the freedom to do what they will, and do not have the excuse of being encumbered by bureaucratic regulations to explain the results of Hrabe’s research.  Consider the effect of term limits and the high volume of turn-over of Capitol staff – and the excuse of having to phase-in gender equality falls away quite quickly.  Apparently talk is cheap.

I’m waiting (and no doubt will be waiting for a long time) for Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, head of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, to issue a formal apology to all women everywhere for the deplorable record of the State Assembly in terms of hiring women, and placing them into the most senior of positions.

Finally, I leave you with this video of Assembly Speaker John Perez talking gender equality and praising those honorees receiving “Breaking The Glass Ceiling” awards. Of course none of them work for the State Assembly.  But given the upside-down odds of women breaking the glass ceiling in the Assembly, perhaps next year there will be Assembly employees among the award recipients.