President Joe Biden hands House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., a pen after signing the first of three bills during an event with other and other members of Congress in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Credit: Susan Walsh / AP

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has filled about 56 percent of his senior White House staff positions with women, including about 36 percent who come from racially and/or ethnically diverse backgrounds, according to the White House.

The Biden administration published the gender and pay analysis of its staff on Thursday as it delivered a required annual report to Congress listing the title and salary of every White House office employee.

The administration said the data shows it is “the most diverse administration in history” and also has only a narrow pay gap between men and women on staff.

The average salary for women in the administration is $93,752, while men average $94,639, representing about a one percent pay gap.

That compares with a 37 percent gender pay gap in President Donald Trump’s administration during his first year in office, while President Barack Obama’s pay gap was 16 percent at the same point in his presidency, according to an American Enterprise Institute analysis of staff salaries.

“In alignment with the president’s commitment to diversity and pay equity, the White House has taken significant steps to ensure the White House staff reflects the diversity of the country and the highest standards of economic and social justice for all,” the White House said in a statement accompanying its report to Congress.

Overall, about 60 percent of Biden’s White House staff is female. Women make up about 50.8 percent of the American population, according to the 2019 U.S. Census, and they make up a 47.0 percent share within the labor force as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Biden, 78, during the campaign sought to fend off suggestions that an older white man wasn’t the right person for the presidency at a moment when the nation is grappling with issues like racial injustice and huge pay gaps between men and women.

He sought to frame himself as a transitional candidate who would bake equity into his personnel and policy decisions as president. He picked Kamala Harris for vice president and has pledged to name the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court if given the opportunity.

Biden last week signed an executive order to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility and hired the White House’s first chief diversity and inclusion director.

The most powerful members of Biden’s inner circle — chief of staff Ron Klain, counselor Steve Ricchetti, senior adviser Mike Donilon, senior adviser Anita Dunn and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell — are all white.

Story by Aamer Madhani, Associated Press