Statement on gender pay equity to mark Equal Pay Day

I thank all who have come together on Equal Pay Day to shed light on this issue and continue the fight for fairer wages and more inclusive workplaces.

Women are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with children. They receive more college and graduate degrees than men. But pay inequity holds us back. Pay inequity limits women’s life choices.

Pay inequity has real consequences, both short and long term. It makes women have to choose between buying food or paying rent. It makes them have to determine if they can afford a job if they can’t afford childcare. It limits their ability to buy homes, pay for college educations, and accumulate savings and benefits. It makes women more vulnerable to poverty in retirement, and the statistics bear this out, with twice as many women 65 and older living in poverty compared to men.

And so it is unconscionable that in 2018 women, on average, have to work more than 15 months to earn what men earn in a year. Over a lifetime of work (47 years), the total estimated loss of earnings of women compared with men is $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate and $2 million for a professional school graduate.

The pay gap persists across all racial and ethnic groups, and it is found in every state. However, the pay gap is worse for women of color –

  • Latina women earn 54% to the dollar earned by a non-Hispanic white male, their equal pay day is November 1st;

  • African American woman earn 63%, their Equal Pay Day is August 7th;

  • White non-Hispanic women earn 75%, their Equal Pay Day is April 17th;

  • And Asian women earn 85%, their Equal Pay Day is February 22nd.

This is simply unacceptable.

Here in New York City, we have been a leader in the fight for gender pay equity. And we all heard the news out of California this week: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that employers may not consider prior salaries in setting a person's pay.

These are important steps forward. But as long as an equal pay day exists, more work is needed. More work is needed to ensure that women receive the dignity and remuneration in the workplace they deserve.

And because legislation alone is not going to bring us to where we need to be, this fall I will host a salary negotiation workshop for women, so that my constituents can demand, with confidence, what is rightfully theirs.


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