In his latest White House teleprompter reading on Tuesday, President Barack Obama railed against the alleged problem of pay inequality between male and female workers. He stated assertively at one point, "Equal pay for equal work, it's not that complicated." Obama also signed two more executive orders that are tangental to the issue.
So assuming that Obama is a man of his word, it is fair to say that he is about to embark on his own latest 'war on women' and declare that female members of the U.S. Army should be paid less than their male counterparts. How can that be some may ask? After all, he is calling for equality, right? Well, actually, no. Obama is calling for equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to serving in the Army, females are not doing equal work.
In order to be in good standing in the Army, all service members (formerly known as soldiers) must meet minimum standards on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). Just a quick look at the disparity of standards between males and females makes it very clear that the work is definitely not equal.
The APFT standards are also not equal when it comes to age groups, but the bigger disparity is between genders. For example, taking a look at the difference in standards for males and females in the 17-21 age group is a useful exercise. In this age group, most females cannot claim to be behind due to education levels, child-bearing or any of the other myriad reasons why females generally make less pay than males in the workplace.
There are three parts to the APFT - 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups and a 2-mile timed run. For males in the 17-21 age group, the minimum passing score requires them to do 42 push-ups, 53 sit-ups and finish the 2-mile run in less than 15 minutes and 54 seconds. For females in the same age group, though, the minimum standards are 19 push-ups, 53 sit-ups and a 2-mile run time in less than 18 minutes and 54 seconds.
So only in the sit-up category are females required to do the 'equal work' of males. Females have to do only 45% as many push-ups as males and they are given 19% more time to finish the 2-mile run than males. Some enterprising math student could probably calculate that this means overall that females likely deserve about 77% of the pay that males receive (does that percentage sound familiar???), assuming that the 3 parts of the APFT were given equal weighting. They would lose 18% due to the push-up disparity alone.
Equal pay for equal work - that actually is not a very complicated concept. Now let's see if the Commander-in-Chief uses his role to direct these pay changes to an area of the government where he actually has Constitutional authority to make them. After all, as Obama himself would say, it's the right thing to do.