NBC Medical Editor Claims Saudi Arabia Better Than U.S. on Equal Pay for Women

Making an absurd declaration on Friday's NBC Today, chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman asserted that the oppressive regime in Saudi Arabia was fairer to working women than the United States: "We still make 77 cents to the dollar as men. It's ridiculous. In a country like Saudi Arabia, where we question their rights, it's against the law to pay women less than men." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Guess what else is against the law in Saudi Arabia? For a woman to work without the permission of her male guardian. As a result, according to a report on PBS Newshour Extra, women in the Islamic state currently "only make up 5 percent of the workforce." Women must also adhere to a strict dress code and are banned from driving.

The topic of equal pay arose as Snyderman and fellow Today's Professionals panelists – advertising executive Donny Deutsch and attorney Star Jones – took questions from viewers during the 9 a.m. et hour of the morning show. One woman, introduced only as Sheila, wondered: "...a report just came out this week about men and women doing the same jobs, professional careers, and the men are continuously being paid higher salaries. Why is that?"

After Snyderman made her rant, Jones used the opportunity to campaign for President Obama: "My bread does not cost 30 cents less than a man's bread when he goes into the grocery store. Equal pay for equal work. That was one of the first things that Obama did, was sign the Lilly Ledbetter Act."

What all of the supposed "professionals" failed to mention was the fact that the "77 cents to the dollar" statistic simply compares all working women in the country to all men, regardless of whether they actually do the same work.

As James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation explained in a June 5 report: "This gender gap is not the result of rampant discrimination. Rather, it exists because men and women often work in different jobs, work different hours, and have different qualifications. When work experience, education, occupation, and hours of work are taken into account, the average woman makes 98 cents for every dollar earned by a man."


Here is a full transcript of the June 8 Today exchange:

9:37AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We are back with more of our special Today's Professionals hour. Now it's your turn to ask the experts: Star, Donny, and Dr. Nancy. We're going to do a lightning round with these guys. Al is out on the plaza and he's got some questions from the crowd. Hey, Al.

AL ROKER: Hey, Savannah, guys. Okay, here we go, we've got Sheila first of all question. You're from Houston, right?

SHEILA: Yes, sir.

ROKER: Okay, what's your question for the crowd?

SHEILA: My question is, a report just came out this week about men and women doing the same jobs, professional careers, and the men are continuously being paid higher salaries. Why is that?

ROKER: What a surprise.

SHEILA: Yeah, why is that?

ROKER: What's up with that guys?

GUTHRIE: Okay, Nancy?

NANCY SNYDERMAN: We still make 77 cents to the dollar as men. It's ridiculous. In a country like Saudi Arabia, where we question their rights, it's against the law to pay women less than men.

GUTHRIE: Donny you employ a lot of people, hope you pay them equally.

DONNY DEUTSCH: You know, women raise – run my company. I want to challenge the women. My experience is women don't feel entitled enough to ask and demand what they deserve – no, no.

GUTHRIE: What?! So it's the woman's fault?

DEUTSCH: No, I'm not saying it's women – it's that women are now empowered. And once again, this is the problem, women need to say, "I deserve this. I want this." And have some of those same stupid traits that men have, as far as entitlement.

STAR JONES: Absolutely. My bread does not cost 30 cents less than a man's bread when he goes into the grocery store. Equal pay for equal work. That was one of the first things that Obama did, was sign the Lilly Ledbetter Act.

DEUTSCH: Women demand it. Demand it.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC