FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE EQUAL PAY ACT BECAME LAW, AMERICAN WOMEN ON AVERAGE EARN ONLY 77 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR EARNED BY THEIR MALE PEERS
“Even though the Equal Pay Act— a law that guarantees women the same pay as men when performing the same job— was passed almost fifty years ago, America women working full-time still earn only 77 cents for every dollar that men make. Last year I noted that today many families rely on women's earnings, yet the gender wage gap is remains a serious threat to gender equality and pay equity.
Statistics have shown that in New York, the median pay for a woman working full time is $41,570 per year, while the median yearly pay for a man is $50,228. This means that women are paid 83 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $8,658 between the genders. New York women of color experience greater wage disparities— in one year, the average Black woman earns approximately $12,197 less than all men. For New York’s Latinas, the figure is $18,685 (a number lower than the national average).
The fight for pay equity continues to take place on the federal, state, and city levels. In 2010, I introduced a resolution into the City Council calling upon Congress to pass and the President to sign into law the Paycheck Fairness Act. Today, I ask you sign U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's petition urging Congress to act on the Paycheck Fairness Act (http://tinyurl.com/3vdhm56). President Barack Obama pledged in 2011 to continue to fight for the goals of the legislation. Organizations like A Better Balance continue to promote wage transparency and fair pay in contracting at the state level. I encourage New Yorkers to contact Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office to tell him to support equal pay policies and legislation for all New Yorkers.
The New York State Legislature is currently in the process of reviewing legislation similar to that on the federal level— the New York State Fair Pay Act. The bill would make it an unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, and/or national origin through paying different wages to employees. I am working to create legislation on the Citywide level that addresses the issue of pay equity. My efforts began with the help of New York Women’s Agenda in 2009. Although much authority to legislate wage issues lies with the State, I am confident that the New York City Council could pass legislation that eliminates wage-based discrimination, and secures pay equity for women throughout the City.
On this Equal Pay Day working women should know that their government supports them and fights for them against wage-based discrimination. Go to this link to learn more. Lastly, please share with someone special that today— April 17, 2012— is Equal Pay Day.”
--Council Member Letitia James