Maloney, Gillibrand mark Equal Pay Day

Source: Times Union



“What I think is one of the most disturbing elements of this pay gap report is that we found the gap actually worsens with age,” Maloney said. “A woman at the beginning of her career between ages 18 and 24 makes 88 cents to man’s dollar. … By age 65 a woman’s income is a mere 56 percent of men’s.”

The report states 19.7 percent of women 65 and older who live alone are below the poverty line.

“And just like that the wage gap becomes a wage gulf,” Maloney added.

In a panel discussion on equal pay Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said the first step toward closing the wage gap is laws to ensure gender-neutral policies like paid leave that make it easier for employees to take time off for life events such as childbirth or caring for sick parents.

“New York just passed their own paid leave plan, which is great,” Gillibrand said. “Every person is going to have that family emergency.”

In New York, a person on leave will get 66 percent of his or her pay for 12 weeks once the plan is fully implemented, Gillibrand said.

“When I talk to upstate businesses in the more conservative parts of my state,” Gillibrand said, “[I say], ‘Would you buy each employee one cup of coffee a week so that when something happens in their life they can take leave?’ and they overwhelmingly say yes.”

Maloney invited Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette — who demanded equal wages for women in her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech for her role in “Boyhood” — to Tuesday’s National Press Club news conference as a way to draw attention to the Joint Economic Committee report.

“I think we all know from the Sony hack that actresses are paid less than actors,” Arquette said, referring to the 2014 data swipe that resulted in the release of reams of internal studio communications. “Thank you, North Korea. But it is not just one industry. This is part of a bigger issue that millions of women are being paid less simply because they’re female.”

“This is an American problem,” she said, “and this is an American disgrace.”

To celebrate Equal Pay Day, President Barack Obama said Congress should pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would hold employers responsible for creating a fair workplace environment.