Women’s Equality Agenda Press Conference in New York

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Earlier this week I attended a press conference to support passage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ten-point Women’s Equality Agenda in New York.

Organizers from The Equal Pay Coalition NYC and the New York Women’s Equality Coalition gathered supporters at a press conference held on April 9 to highlight that a woman would have had to work more than 15 months, to that date, to earn what a man earned in only 12 months in 2012.

Women earn $11,000 less per year and $500,000 less over a lifetime, compared to men. Women are also twice as likely to be the victim of housing discrimination, according to a video about the proposed New York State Women’s Equality Act.

Gov. Cuomo’s ten-point women’s equality agenda seeks to:

  1. Achieve pay equity.
  2. Stop sexual harassment in all workplaces.
  3. Allow for the recovery of attorneys’ fees in employment, credit and lending.
  4. Strengthen human trafficking laws.
  5. End family status discrimination.
  6. Stop source-of-income discrimination.
  7. Stop Housing discrimination for victims of domestic violence.
  8. Stop pregnancy discrimination once and for all.
  9. Protect victims of domestic violence by strengthening order-of-protection laws.
  10. Protect reproductive health decisions.

The New York State Catholic Conference and the Chiaroscuro Foundation oppose point 10 on reproductive health.

The press conference focused on supporting point 1 to achieve equal pay, with a panel of eight speakers voicing support. Members of several other organizations that support Gov. Cuomo’s agenda were also in attendance.

Beverly Neufeld, director, Equal Pay Coalition NYC said:

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.

Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president, A Better Balance said:

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.

Leaders of other organizations spoke out for equal pay, including Empire State Pride Agenda; Violence Intervention Project; National Organization for Women NOW-NYS; Greater New York Chamber of Commerce; the Chhaya Community Development Corporation; and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Organizers urged people who support the agenda to write their legislators and Tweet about it with the hashtags #EqualPayNY and #NY4Women. Below are two examples that were tweeted during the press conference:


Update: You can read more about the history of Equal Pay for Women in this follow up feature I wrote for the NYWICI website.


Background reading and resources

New York Women’s Equality Coalition

Support for the Women’s Equality Agenda

Faces of Change video: Lilly Ledbetter’s Equal Pay Story

Why Gender Equality Stalled, The New York Times

Report on Statutory Routes to Workplace Flexibility in Cross-National Perspective, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Note: This piece was initially intended for the New York Women and Communications website. Due to a concurrent NYWICI website redesign, it was not used. Included are some suggestions by NYWICI editors.
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Categories: Culture, New York City, Our Times

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