Today more than one million households in New York State are headed by women who are responsible for the economic security of their families. Yet, on average, a woman working full-time in New York earns $40,584 annually, while a man working full-time earns $49,174.
For these working women that $8,290 annual disparity often means the difference between self-sufficiency and poverty. In fact, 26 percent of households headed by women in our state live below the poverty level.
Equally alarming is that traditionally female occupations pay considerably less than those occupations dominated by men. Responding to occupational segregation is an important part of tackling the gender wage gap because income inequality isn’t just a case of economic unfairness; it’s a matter of economic injustice, and it’s holding back far too many of our working families.
Jaffee said, “I sponsored this legislation (A9020-B), the first in New York State to become law, and I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing it, because it will expand workforce assistance and training programs for women so they qualify for higher paying jobs, including those that have traditionally gone to men. And it will give women the information and training they need to make better job decisions and career choices for themselves and their families.”
Specifically, this legislation will add a work force training program in the Department of Labor. The program will include current information about careers that offer a higher salary and compensation; counseling, skills development and training that encourage women to seek jobs and higher earning potential. Equipping women job seekers with this knowledge will help them reach their full earning potential and break down barriers in the workplace for all women who want to increase their employment opportunities and their paychecks.
Effective immediately the law will ensure that women who visit state workforce training centers will be informed of higher-paying jobs traditionally held by men that they too qualify for and that they may have been steered away from in the past.
Kelli Owens, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy, YWCAs of the Northeast, who was a strong advocate for the legislation said, “At the YWCA we are very concerned not only about breaking the glass ceiling, but the women we serve are stuck on the floor, just stuck to the floor and they can’t get out of minimum wage jobs - they’re taking two jobs to make things work. We know that if women are given information about the gender wage gap in their area, and they know that there is access to higher wage jobs, and they know that they have training for those higher wage jobs, they’re going to make the right decision and train for those higher wage jobs. So that’s essentially the very simple way this legislation fixes the very significant problem in the publicly-funded workforce. Another thing about this legislation is that it moves the bar up in regards to pay equity legislation in the state of New York."
Beverly Cooper Neufeld, President of the New York Women's Agenda and Director of The Equal Pay Coalition NYC, who also advocated for the legislation said, “One of the most significant outcomes of this particular piece of legislation is that in writing, in a bill that was voted on by both the assembly and the senate and then signed by our governor, it clearly states that there is a gender wage gap, and we must do something about it. We have been working on pay equity for the past many years, and we are glad to have a win.”
To learn more about the new Workforce Training law click on this link http://pearlriver.patch.com/articles/ellen-jaffee-s-bill-to-close-gender-wage-gap-video