On Monday, April 16 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand addressed 300 advocates at a forum (#equalpaydayny) sponsored by the Equal Pay Coalition NYC, a project of the New York Women’s Agenda, with co-sponsors, A Better Balance and NYU Law Women. “As we mark yet another Equal Pay Day, it is alarming that in the 21st century, millions of women who make up half the workforce are earning 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. We must close this chronic gap that shortchanges America’s women,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Ensuring that men and women who do equal work receive equal pay is more than just a matter of principle. It is clear that a rebuilt middle class rests squarely on women helping to lead the way to economic recovery.”
The Senator shared her fight for equal pay through the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, the challenge of working in Congress now, and the special quality women leaders (from both sides of the aisle) bring to elected office. She passionately enumerated the reasons workers need to be protected if they discuss their salaries, a key provision of the PFA. She advised young women to fight, from the start, for equal pay and to consider public office. Maria Hinojosa, award winning PBS journalist, deftly moderated the conversation and a follow-up panel with Galit Ben-Joseph, Vice President, Wealth Management, Neuberger Berman; Serena Fong, Senior Director, Catalyst; C. Nicole Mason, Executive Director, Women of Color Policy Network.
With New York State Equal Pay bills pending, Beverly Neufeld, President of NYWA and Director of EPCNYC, called on all in attendance to take action to push for the passage of historic legislation. “Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in New York does not stay in New York. What we do here counts and will affect policy across the country. Let’s push our leaders to pass strong equal pay laws in 2012.”
NYS Senator Liz Krueger and NYS Assembly Member Grace Meng talked about the importance of NYS anti-retaliation bills they are sponsoring. NYC Comptroller John Liu discussed his agreement with Goldman Sachs and MetLife to make public employment data. NYS Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee share details of her Workforce Development bill which is sponsored by Senator Joseph Robach, who did not attend but sent a statement. NYC Council Member Gale Brewer explained the need for the Paid Sick Time bill. A local champion of Equal Pay NYC Council Member Letitia James, attended as did many representatives of local officials. As well, Anne Sutherland Fuchs, Chair of the NYC Commission on Women’s Issues, read a message from Mayor Bloomberg praising the Equal Pay Coalition NYC’s efforts and marking two milestones: the anniversary of Elinor Guggenheimer’s birthday and the 20th Anniversary of NYWA which she founded.
Participants left inspired by Senator Gillibrand, armed with facts from our panel and elected officials, and charged to take action on April 17, National Equal Pay Day, and everyday until women and minorities are compensated fully and fairly for their work.
#fairpay #equalpaydayny #equalpay #closeit