Assemblyman Perry Says Equal Pay for Equal Work is Long Overdue

April 22, 2015

Pay equality for women and men is not a bold or novel idea. Itís common sense. Two people doing the same work with the same skill should be compensated equally, regardless of their gender. And yet thatís still not the reality in New York State or across the nation.

The reality is that women earn, on average, 78 cents for every dollar earned by men nationwide. Women in New York State make 86 percent of what their male counterparts make, and for minority women, the situation is even worse Ė African-American women in New York earn just 66 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. Nationally, African-American women make 64 cents and Latinas earn 61 cents for every dollar paid to their white male counterparts. This disparity costs the average American woman and her family an estimated $700,000 to $2 million during her lifetime.

Thatís why on Tues., April 14, I joined women and men from all walks of life across the country in observance of Equal Pay Day. This occasion is a chance for us to recommit ourselves to the hard work of ending the gender wage gap wherever it persists. April 14th is not an arbitrary date; it represents just how far into the year women must work to earn the same amount of money their male coworkers made during the previous year Ė a stark example of just how unfair this disparity is. Declaring this day as Equal Pay Day helps start a conversation about the enormous effects the gender wage gap has on women, their families and our economy as a whole.

As your representative in the state Assembly, Iíve also made it my priority to fight for laws that bring us closer to ending the gender pay gap once and for all. This year, Iím sponsoring and supporting several pieces of legislation that would make pay equity law in New York State, help end wage inequality in public employment, allow for corrective action and provide funding to eliminate wage disparities (A.6937; A.437; A.1574; A.3523 & A.6075). These bills represent important steps toward achieving pay equality here in New York, and I encourage the governor and state Senate to support them as well.

Thereís no reason that in 2015 we should still be fighting for equal pay for women. Itís the right thing to do, plain and simple, and it should not be the subject of controversy. But as long as this fight continues, I remain committed to doing everything in my power to bring our state closer to true pay equality. As always, if you have concerns about pay equity or any other community issue, please donít hesitate to contact my office at (718) 385-3336 or email me at perryn@assembly.state.ny.us.