LETTER: Time to end gender pay gap

Daily Freeman-1 year before

According to laws already on the books, Equal Pay Day for all women should be Dec. 31. But it's not. The average woman must work far into the next year to earn what the average man earned the previous year.

It takes until April 2 for women who work full time to catch up with their male counterparts; equal pay for a mom compared to a dad comes on June 10; black women reach parity on Aug. 22; and equal pay day for Latinas is observed on Nov. 20. There are wide wage gaps among Asian women, so some catch up by March 5, but others not until mid-July.

The wage gap starts at the b...ginning of a woman’s career and multiples over time. Indeed, right out of college, women experience a 7 percent wage gap. Females are often pushed into lower-paying jobs and job titles that allow women to be paid less for substantially equal work. The pay gap can begin even earlier, as teens. According to a 2018 analysis, boys earn, on average, twice what girls earn for chores.

Collectively, women in New York state lose $17 billion a year due to the pay gap. This hurts women and their families, but it also hurts the communities they support: Local businesses are hurt through lost sales, as are local schools and governments that depend upon sales tax and property tax dollars to fund the programs and the infrastructure those communities need to exist.

Change needs to happen, but there is good news. Our state Legislature and governor have the opportunity to pass game-changing laws this session. And Congress might finally move forward on commonsense reform. That will only happen if we all speak out, contact our elected representatives and call for equal pay for all women now.

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