Women’s Equality Act is long overdue in New York

In his 2013 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced the Women’s Equality Act, aimed at achieving gender equality and protecting many women’s rights in New York State. The 10-point plan, which breaks down barriers that perpetuate discrimination and inequality based on gender, is both progressive and long overdue. The legislative agenda includes the passage of the Fair Pay Act, a bill the WNY Women’s Foundation actively supports.

Speaking specifically in relation to equal pay, according to a report from the Joint Economic Committee, in Western New York 105,000 households depend on a female’s earnings. Working women in our community earn on average $100 less than men each week for the same labor. The economic disparity of fair pay between genders impacts our community with increased poverty rates and harms the economic security of all families.

The more stable an economic position women supporting families are in, the better off we all are as a community. Research shows that children of economically self-sufficient families receive higher-quality child care, better educational opportunities, better nutrition and quality of health care. All of these are indicators of future success in life. Equal pay is not simply a women’s issue, it is a family issue that can benefit our community as a whole.

Cuomo’s agenda is a critical step for women to attain the rights they have been so long denied, as well as being an essential step for economic stability throughout our state. The enactment of the Fair Pay Act will cement the notion that women’s equality is a fundamental right.

Heather Filipowicz, CFRE

Executive Director

WNY Women’s Foundation