June 24, 2010 by Ilene H. Lang
Last week, a New York City Council hearing was held on closing the gender wage gap. It was organized by the New York Women’s Agenda (NYWA) and the Equal Pay Coalition of New York City. Both groups are fighting hard to end pay discrimination against New York women and minorities. They advocate for wide-ranging pay equity policies modeled on those put into place in 2009 by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson—efforts I support.
The hearing featured an array of leading researchers, legal experts, and community leaders. Among those on hand was Beverly Neufeld, Vice President of NYWA and Director of Equal Pay Coalition NYC. She made a salient point about the deep impact women have on our economy through investment and spending.
“The hand that rocks the cradle rocks the economy as well,” she said.
Her comments mirrored something I read recently while browsing through books from our office collection. “Men and women in all walks of life must reassess their attitudes towards women as workers, and recognize the economic waste caused and injustices suffered to this point in time,” wrote J.E. Buckley in the book, Equal Pay for Women: Progress and Problems in Seven Countries.
Those words date back to 1975 when the U.S. wage gap was 59%. Today it’s 77%. More than 30 years later, we still have a long way to go—and a lot more to tell others—about how much the pay inequity hurts women, families and our economy. Too much is at stake—it’s time to get to work!