The Gender Pay Gap Persists: Women Trail Men in Salaries and WagesNovember 28, 2023
It has been 60 years since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, a move intended to ensure that women earn as much as men in equivalent jobs, but we still haven’t reached that goal. Since 1997, New York City women have actually lost ground.
Women deserve better. These pay disparities hinder their ability to provide for their families, save for retirement and unforeseen expenses, and engage in their communities.
New York City and State have implemented public policies that promote salary parity and support women in the workplace, including requiring pay transparency in hiring and banning employers from asking about salary history or expectations, and enacting paid family leave, pregnancy discrimination prevention, and lactation laws.
But persistent pay disparities show that the city and state need to do more. Our policymakers in the city and in Albany must build on our progressive track record and make equal pay for equal work a reality for New York women.
A recent report by Women Creating Change and the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs showed that in 2022, nationwide, women received an average 87 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. In New York City, women earned 90 cents for every dollar earned by men, but that’s less than the 92 cents New York women were getting in 1997. The gap is much wider for women of color, with Black women earning 57 cents and Latina/Hispanic women receiving 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white man.
This isn’t just an economic issue, it’s a moral imperative. When women, especially women of color, are paid less than their male counterparts for equal work, it perpetuates systemic discrimination, reinforces harmful stereotypes, and limits the potential of our entire city.
Despite closing the gap with men in educational attainment, women are heavily represented in undervalued and poorly paid occupations. In the 21st century, women still face limited opportunities in the workforce, especially after having children.
We need real policy changes and a significant cultural shift to increase opportunities for women in all sectors of the economy and provide enough income to manage the cost of living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
COVID showed us the importance of affordable child care and the benefits of flexible scheduling and remote work so women with family responsibilities can continue in their careers.
Better pay and a more flexible workday will enable women to contribute to their communities and advocate for themselves and others to improve their quality of life.
Policy proposals in the report address economic issues facing women, including increasing the minimum wage, addressing pay inequities predominantly affecting women of color, enhancing tax credits benefiting low-income families, and raising unemployment insurance benefits while making it easier to access these benefits.
There can be no justice or equality without gender pay equity. We all should continue to fight for fair pay, higher wages, robust benefits, and more family-supportive policies that will allow women to thrive. While New York’s leaders have taken bold steps, there is more work to do, and there is no time to waste.