On Equal Pay Day, Maloney Pushes Expanded Agenda to Improve Economic Opportunities for Women
WASHINGTON – As women still earn less than men nationally, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced his expanded agenda to “Increase Economic Opportunities for Women.” Maloney first introduced his seven-point agenda for improving economic opportunity for women in 2014, and this year’s agenda includes a larger role for sexual assault prevention. Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day when women's average earnings catch up to men's earnings from the previous year. Although New York has the smallest gender pay gap of any state in the nation, with women earning an average of $0.89 to a man’s dollar, women in the Hudson Valley still earn only 78.5% what their male counterparts earn – a difference of about $14,000 per year.
“New York is leading the way on closing the gender pay gap, but the gap shouldn’t exist at all,” said Rep. Maloney. “Women are innovators, civic leaders, and breadwinners, and even after all the progress we’ve made toward gender equality, there’s more work to do. My comprehensive agenda tries to get at the various roots of the problem – from making college more affordable to combating sexual harassment.”
According to the American Association of University Women, women in New York’s 18th congressional district earn – on average – $0.78 to every $1 earned by a man. More information on Rep. Maloney’s work to ensure equality of opportunity for women is available here.
Rep. Maloney’s Expanded Plan to “Increase Economic Opportunities for Women”
- Strengthen the Equal Pay Act: Five and a half decades after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, Hudson Valley women working full time earn less than 80 percent of men’s median earnings. Nationally, women make, on average, 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, which amounts to a yearly gap of $10,470. The Paycheck Fairness Act closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act.
- Increase the Federal Minimum Wage to $15.00: Women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers across the country. More than half of minimum wage workers in New York are women, and someone working full-time, year-round at minimum wage today earns just $18,000. New York State passed a minimum wage increase as part of their 2016-17 budget, but the federal minimum wage would ensure women nationwide would earn a living wage. In addition to supporting the minimum wage increase recently passed in New York, Representative Maloney supports the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15.00 over the next seven years.
- Establish National Paid Family and Medical Leave: Current regulations on leave provide unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health-related events for only half of the workforce. Remaining workers don’t qualify for unpaid leave, and many more simply cannot afford to take unpaid time off. The FAMILY Act would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, ensuring that American workers would no longer have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member.
- Implement Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training and Protections: According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, up to 85 percent of women report that they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. The #MeToo movement has sparked and sustained a national conversation on sexual assault that was long overdue. Congress should lead on this issue, but many Representatives have themselves committed acts of sexual harassment. House Resolution 630, which passed unanimously on November 29, 2017, requires all House of Representatives staff and Members to undergo sexual harassment training. The ME TOO Congress Act would require annual harassment training in both the Senate and House, discontinue the legal practice of “mandatory mediation,” and give vulnerable interns and fellows the same workplace protections as full-time staff.
- Increase Quality and Affordable Early Childhood Education: Investing in early education programs like Head Start is one of the single most important things we can do to open up opportunities for kids and set our children up for a lifetime of success. The Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act requires the Department of Education to establish an Office for Gender Equity to support higher education institutions and elementary and secondary schools in fully implementing Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded education programs. The Early Childhood Nutrition Improvement Act would help child care centers, Head Start programs, homeless shelters, and afterschool programs provide nutritious meals and snacks to children.
- Make College More Affordable: Women are 33 percent more likely to have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Unfortunately, college graduates are saddled with unmanageable and crushing student loan debt payments preventing them from buying a home or starting their own business. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow borrowers with high interest rates on their outstanding student loans to refinance at much lower levels.
- Protect a Woman’s Freedom of Choice: Women and their doctors should make important health decisions – not Washington politicians. Instead of defunding Planned Parenthood, we should increase access to affordable preventive healthcare services including breast and cervical cancer screenings. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act would guarantee coverage for abortion care in private insurance, as well as public programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Support Women Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses: Women represent almost 40 percent of all business owners and over 99 percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses. They are also more likely to be turned down for loans or face less favorable loan terms than men. The Developing the Next Generation of Small Businesses Act of 2017 would improve access to lending and increase business counseling and training services for women entrepreneurs and give women-owned businesses more access to federal contracts.