PowHer the Vote: Equal Pay

The gender pay gap is real and no, it’s not just a “woman’s issue” for New York State.

The lack of equal pay hurts women, their families, and the whole economy. Despite factors like industry, occupation level, education, and work experience, at least 41% of the wage gap is due to bias, harassment, and discrimination. More than ever, women as a whole hold more educational credentials than men, but women are still undervalued and underpaid as soon as they enter the workforce.

It only worsens as women’s careers progress. LGBTQ women, women with disabilities, women of color, mothers of color, single mothers of color, and most dramatically, single mothers of color in the low-wage workforce, suffer above all.

Join us for our #PowHerTheVote for Equal Pay Take Action Hour Thursday, September 16th from 1-2:00PM!


This factsheet is a part of PowHer the Vote, a campaign to ignite and equip New Yorkers to advance women’s issues in the 2016 election.

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Ask Your Candidate How can NY State continue to address closing the gender wage gap?



The year that New York will close the
wage gap if it continues on its current course.


The total amount that New York
women lose yearly due to the wage gap.

The number of the weeks of groceries a NY woman can provide for her family if there was no wage gap.

What’s Happening In New York?

  • With the help of advocates, NY passed an important Equal Pay Pay Bill in 2015 which provides protections to discuss salary, close loopholes and increase damages, effectively ensuring employers follow wage laws.
  • Even though we are ranked the second best state in the country, if New York continues on its current course, research predicts the gender-based wage gap will close by 2049–another 33 years.
  • Women are underrepresented in high-wage jobs and overrepresented in low-wage ones.
  • Check out the wage gap in your New York Congressional District.
  • All year long the PowHerNY Equal Pay Campaign

What’s Happening Nationally?

  • As a group, women who are employed full time, year round in the United States lose more than $490 billion to the wage gap every year.
  • As women take over a male-dominated field, the pay drops. A study of more than 50 years of data revealed that when women moved into a field in large numbers, wages declined, even when controlling for experience, skills, education, race and region.
  • Union women earn 88.7 cents on the dollar compared with their male counterparts, a considerably higher earnings ratio than the earnings ratio between all women and men in the United States.
  • The wage gap increases as a women ages and with higher educational degrees. Compared to men, women with advanced degrees earn 26% less.

The Wage Gap for Women of Color

American women who work full time, year round are only paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. For women of color the gaps are even larger.

Percent of NY Population in Poverty What a Woman Earns for Every Dollar a Man Earns in NY The Lifetime Wage Gap for Women of NY
Women Overall 15.7% 86.8¢ $271,960
Asian American Women 18.9% 80.3¢ $486,000
African American Women 21.7% 66.1¢ $837,280
Native American Women 24.5% 60.8¢ $968,320
Latina 27.1% 55.5¢ $1,099,000
Female-Head of Families
(compared to fathers)
39.2% 75¢ $600,000
Sources: National Women’s Law Center, “The Lifetime Wage Gap, State by State“, “Poverty Rates by State” and “Equal Pay and the Wage Gap.”

Do mothers and soon-to-be mothers experience the wage gap?

  • Better protections for pregnant workers, like the new pregnancy accommodation law in NY, are key to equal pay by helping women keep jobs, enter non-traditional fields, have healthier babies, and avoid the spiral of poverty.
  • Compared to non-mothers, mothers are typically recommended for significantly lower starting salaries, are perceived as less competent, and are less likely to be recommended for hire.
  • There is a financial penalty for motherhood of about 4%, and a benefit for fatherhood of 6%.

Is There a Wage Gap in the LGBT Community?

What About Women With Disabilities?

Key Terms

Wage Gap: The “wage gap” is the additional money a woman would have to make for every dollar made by a man in order to have equal annual earnings.
“What a woman makes for every dollar a man makes”: The ratio of women’s and men’s annual median earnings for full-time, year-round workers.
Lifetime Wage Gap: The wage gap a woman experiences over a 40-year career compared to a white, non-Hispanic man.


The Simple Truth about The Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2016/AAUW)

The Wage Gap: The Who, How, Why, and What To Do (Spring 2016/ National Women’s Law Center)

Know Your Rights: Equal Pay in New York (A Better Balance)

Status of Women in the States (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)