Press Release: Advocates Unite on Equal Pay Day to Support Women’s Equality Agenda

April 9, 2013
Contact: Tara Sweeney, 646-520-3518 (o); 917-488-0094 (c);

Advocates Unite on Equal Pay Day to Support Women’s Equality Agenda
New York Women’s Equality Coalition and Equal Pay Coalition NYC Come Together to Highlight Broad Support for Achieving Equal Pay for Women Under the Governor’s Women’s Equality Agenda

NEW YORK—Today marks the annual recognition of Equal Pay Day, a date chosen because it signifies how far into 2013 a woman would have to work to earn what a man earned in 2012. This year, the New York City regional group of the New York Women’s Equality Coalition and the Equal Pay Coalition NYC will combine forces to host a press conference calling attention to the wage gap between men and women, and calling for support of Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Agenda, a ten-point agenda that has among its goals achieving equal pay in New York.

Speakers from a broad spectrum of organizations—representing hundreds of groups and businesses in the New York City region and 750 groups and businesses statewide – will address the grave disparities women face in New York, especially in matters of employment.

“Concrete action and leadership are needed to make real progress in ending the persistent gender wage gap that affects the economic well-being of New York women and their families. Gov. Cuomo and his Women’s Equality Agenda provide both,” said Beverly Neufeld, Director of the Equal Pay Coalition NYC and member of the New York Women’s Equality Coalition Steering Committee.

Among the ten goals of the Women’s Equality Agenda is achieving equal pay. Specifically, the Governor proposes to prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information (so they can discover whether they’re being paid equally), tighten exceptions in the law that currently allow employers to cite nearly any factor other than sex to justify pay differentials, and increase damages available to plaintiffs who prove discrimination in court.

“It’s good business to pay women what they are worth. This bill will ensure equity and performance in the work place when we need it the most, it will improve the economy, and it is just the right thing to do!” said Mark Jaffe, President and CEO, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce.

“Pushing to ensure that every New Yorker has access to broad civil rights is a core value of the Empire State Pride Agenda,” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan Schaefer. “Now, the Pride Agenda is honored to stand with members of the Women’s Equality Coalition to ensure that no New Yorker ever faces gender-based discrimination.”

“The Governor’s Women’s Equality Agenda breaks new ground by recognizing the web of interwoven challenges facing women in the 21st century. We’re here to mark Equal Pay Day and the gender wage gap, which is a visible symptom of inequality. But the Women’s Equality Agenda also addresses many of the root causes of unfair pay, which are often ignored: bias against mothers in the workplace, lack of safety in the home, and women’s inability to control their reproductive healthcare decisions,” said Dina Bakst, Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance, and member of the New York Women’s Equality Agenda Steering Committee.

A Siena Research Institute poll conducted in March shows that 84 percent of New Yorkers support pay equity – a near consensus among New Yorkers. This high level of support was consistent upstate, downstate, among women and men, in cities, suburbs and rural areas, and across all age groups and party affiliations.

The message carried by today’s event is clear: New Yorkers are proud to stand up for equality, and we want to see our legislators do the same.