Two days before Mother's Day, the White House released a presidential memorandum in which Obama says nearly two-thirds of working women are their families' breadwinners. He also characterizes gender-based pay disparities as detrimental to women, families and the economy.
Salary ranges for federal workers are generally determined by law, but individual salaries and other forms of compensation can be based on an administrator's discretion. Obama says such discretion must be exercised openly, using fair criteria and following merit system principles that dictate equal pay for equal work.
The federal government is the nation's largest employer, with about 2 million workers.