Hillary Clinton's focus on women's pay may resonate broadly

Hillary Clinton's focus on women's pay may resonate broadly

WASHINGTON - A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that about two-thirds of Americans believe men are generally paid more than women, a finding that suggests that Democrat Hillary Clinton's message on pay inequality could resonate broadly with Americans should she run for president in 2016.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents said the US government should be doing more to encourage equal pay, the online poll of 2,348 adults from Feb. 27 to March 3 showed.

Broken down by political party, 67 per cent of Democrats and 36 per cent of Republicans said the federal government should be playing a more active role, according to the poll.

The broad interest in pay equality may indicate why Clinton, the presumed Democratic presidential front-runner, has chosen to highlight gender during recent appearances.

Clinton has championed the economic advancement of women as a former secretary of state, US senator and first lady. If Clinton is elected to the White House, she would be the first female US president.

In speeches to women's groups in Silicon Valley and Washington, Clinton has argued for addressing pay disparity, bolstering family leave policies and helping families afford childcare.

"We're not just standing up for women, but for all people - for our families, our communities, our country, and indeed, the kind of world we want for our children," Clinton told a crowd of 1,600 at the Tuesday night dinner for Emily's List, a political group that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion access.

Women helped fuel the country's economic growth over the past 40 years, and without them, the average family would be earning $14,000 less and the gross domestic product would be $2 trillion smaller, Clinton said.

Most of the speakers at Emily's List touched on similar economic themes such as minimum wage and healthcare, filtered through the lens of gender.

Democrats, including President Barack Obama, often cite the statistic that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

The 77-cent figure comes from recent US Census Bureau reports based on the annual median salaries for men and women and is not controlled for other factors.

Of 111 occupations for which the government received enough data to determine 2010 pay disparities, women out-earned men in only four categories - food preparation, bill and account collections, stock clerks and order fillers, and counselors.

These figures were also based on median wages and were not adjusted for variables such as education or career interruptions to care for children and family.

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