gender wage gap

Money and politics don't always make for polite conversation, but President Obama tried to tackle both at the White House on Tuesday.

Obama signed a pair of executive orders aimed at encouraging conversation about men's and women's pay scales. It's a talk that Democrats hope will yield political gains this year.

It also raised questions, though, about how the administration pays its own people.

Why Women Don't Ask For More Money

Apr 8, 2014

When Emily Amanatullah was a graduate student studying management, she couldn't help noticing that a lot of the classic advice in the field was aimed more at men than women. Negotiation tactics in particular seemed tougher for women to master.

"You realize they're pretty at odds with how women comport themselves and how they're expected to comport themselves," she says.

She started to talk to other women and to examine her own behavior. All the women she spoke to said they hated advocating for themselves at work. But they had no trouble speaking up for colleagues.

When Kristine Leighton graduated from a private college five years ago with a degree in hospitality, she owed $75,000 in student loans. Each month, she paid the minimum amount of $450 and lived at home with her parents on Long Island, N.Y.

President Obama is expected to meet on Wednesday with female members of Congress. There are reasons for the president's focus on women that involve both policy and politics.