In 1963, women in the United States were earning just 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man. In the six decades since the passage of the federal Equal Pay Act, there has been progress, but the gender pay gap persists. Today, with women across the nation earning an average 87 cents for every dollar, the fight continues.
The problem exists locally as well. Women Creating Change (WCC) recently partnered with The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs to release a report titled Closing the Gender Pay Gap: Why Pay Equity Has Stalled in New York City and the Urgent Need for Action. The results shed light on the persistent gender pay gap issue that affects women—especially women of color—across all age groups and professions.
To launch the report, WCC hosted a panel featuring The New York Women’s Foundation’s Camille Emeagwali alongside Jennifer Jones Austin,Esq., CEO of FPWA, Lorraine Hariton, President and CEO of Catalyst, Michelle Jackson, Executive Director of Human Services Council of NY, and Beverly Neufeld, President of PowHer NY (moderated by Maricella Herrera Avila). Guests also had the opportunity to hear from First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Council Member Gale A. Brewer, and Interim President of The New School Dr. Donna Shalala, who offered welcome remarks sharing their personal experiences with pay inequity. You can watch a recording of the event here.
“We must dismantle the structures that create an endless cycle of economic immobility for women, especially women of color, who experience the greatest disparity in pay equity. We must end occupational segregation, and support thriving wages for women-dominated fields like the retail, service, and care sectors. Most importantly, we must end discrimination based on race, gender, disability, and pregnant/parenting status. When women thrive, communities flourish.”– Camille Abrahams Emeagwali
While the gender pay gap affects all women in New York City, it disproportionately impacts women of color. In 2022, for every dollar earned by a white man:
There is a critical need for key policy changes to address this pay inequity in our City. The report outlines several such actions, including:
As we continue to advocate for equal pay in our home City, we must remember: we are not in this fight alone.
The gender pay gap is global issue, as we can see with a recent equal pay strike in Iceland. This week, everything from schools to banks and tourist attractions shut their doors as women – including the prime minister – walked out across the nation to strike for an end to unequal pay and gender-based violence.
Tuesday’s strike, which continued from midnight to midnight, has been described as the biggest since Iceland’s first such event in 1975, when 90% of women refused to work, clean or look after children for a day to protest discrimination in the workplace.
Our City’s continued fight and Iceland’s strike are not happening in silos. We are acting in solidarity with women and gender-expansive people of Iceland and across the world. Together, we are creating a world where all people receive fair and equal pay.