Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Gloria Steinem Day

Between 200 and 300 people by my estimate, AAUW members among them, gathered in the well of the Legislative Office Building in Albany today to hear Gloria Steinem and state leaders working for pay equity speak on pending legislation that would level the paying field for women.

What Ms. Steinem said: Professions have been valued by the social value of the worker not the value of the work.
During World War II to discourage strikes, jobs were classified and similar jobs were given similar salary schedules. Then all those jobs where women predominated had their salaries reduced by one-third resulting in scales where the best-paid women earned less than the worst paid men.
(among other cogent words--these are the one I got down)

What the legislation would do:
  • Provide that those employed in job titles where women and people of color predominate receive equal pay for equal work.
  • Grant employees freedom of speech regarding salaries by making it unlawful to discharge an employee for disclosing or discussing wages
Bill number: S3936

Why: At the present rate of progress, women will achieve salary parity with men in 96 years. We need to make faster progress than that. Women can not know if they are suffering discrimination if they do not know what others are paid. The pay gap in New York places us at 36 among the 50 states. New York is not a leader in this area.

What AAUW NY has done: Pay equity has been one of our chief public policy targets this year along with family friendly work place policies. Many branches have Equal Pay Day events in April. We have joined with others in the New York Pay Equity Coalition. Our public policy director, Nancy Mion, has kept us abreast of the issue, especially those on the public policy e-list.

What you can do: Write your state senator now. The Assembly has passed this legislation every year for six years. Visit your state senator in his office and take friends with you. It does not need to be a large group, but if they represent groups that support this legislation, it strengthens your impact.

To learn more contact public-policy@aauw-nys.org or president@aauw-nys.org or NYSPEC at haigner@nycap.rr.com or 518-464-0991 or Women on the Job at wojtf@optonline.net

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