Tag Archives: Economic inequality

The New York City Council and the Gender Pay Gap

 The New York City Council and the Gender Pay Gap
Edwina Frances Martin, Esq.
ESVB Public Policy Co-VP

Over the last several years the New York City Council has passed several pieces of legislation to address barriers women face in the workplace:

·      The Pregnancy Rights Discrimination Act (requiring reasonable accommodation in the workplace for pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions);
·      Paid Sick Leave (requiring a minimum of 5 paid sick days for workers);
·      The Credit Check Discrimination Bill (barring the use of credit checks for potential employees in jobs not directly related to financial matters); and
·      The Caregivers Discrimination Bill (protecting those who care for ill children/parents/spouses/partners from discrimination in the workplace based on their status as a caregiver).

Most of these bills were passed last term, but this term a number of important bills have also been passed. One important bill, introduced by Public Advocate Letitia James, is the NYC Salary History Bill.

Salary history has become an important issue in the fight to end the gender wage gap. Why? This practice perpetuates the wage gap that many women and people of color face. It assumes that prior salaries were fairly established at your previous employers. If you faced a pay gap and lost wages at your last job, due to bias or discrimination, your new employer is now continuing the cycle. Salary history questions can introduce bias and discrimination into the recruitment process of a company that may be sincerely attempting to avoid it.

Employers should pay what the position is worth to their organization and not base compensation on a worker’s worth in a different job with a different company. If a woman starts her career with a pay gap, it’s likely to follow her throughout her life and negatively affect her retirement.
On November 4th, 2016, Mayor de Blasio got the ball rolling in New York City by issuing an executive order banning city agencies from asking for salary history of potential employees until after a job with salary has been offered. The Salary History bill builds on this by banning all employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s prior salary and using it to set future wages.

The Women’s Caucus of the NYC Council rolled out a legislative platform this term, the first time this body has done so.

One piece of legislation in the package would support the Salary History bill by asking the state legislature to enact similar legislation and the governor to sign it – Resolution 1273.

Another piece of the platform, Int. 825, would expand the definition of employer under the human rights law to provide protections for domestic workers, 95% of whom are women. Under our human rights law an employer is defined as having 4 or more employees; Int 825 would create an exception for domestic workers so that the definition is one employee, thus giving them the full force of the protections of NYC’s strong human rights law.

Other bills in the platform include legislation which has now been adopted – regarding the Rikers nursery program, providing free feminine hygiene products to students in NYC schools, and requiring the city to create a comprehensive plan to address the needs of unpaid caregivers – those caring for ill children, parents, siblings, partners, who are overwhelmingly women.

The package also includes legislation that has been introduced to create a task force to address affordability at CUNY, and to support state legislation which would help victims of domestic violence with the difficult task of breaking a lease.

The Women’s Caucus
Equality Legislative Package

The New York City Council Women’s Caucus is a 14-member body led by Co-Chairs and Council Members Laurie A. Cumbo and Helen Rosenthal.* The mission of the caucus is to focus the work of the city council on issues that impact women and families.

On November 29, 2016, the caucus announced a package of legislation it is supporting which will advance issues that affect all people, with a unique focus on women. The package includes legislation to expand women’s rights in areas including: health, education, safety, labor and empowerment.

The Equality Legislative Package includes:

Council Member Barron Create a task force to review affordability, admissions, and graduation rates at CUNY (Int 1138)
Council Member Chin Produce a comprehensive plan to address the needs of unpaid caregivers (Local Law 97)
Council Member Crowley Report on the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives, IUDs (Int 1162)
Council Member Cumbo Implement sexual assault awareness/prevention training, TLC drivers (Int 1106)
Council Member Dickens** Review cosmetic toxicity (Resolution)***
Council Member Ferreras-Copeland Provide feminine hygiene products available at no cost to students while on DOE premises (Local Law 84)
Council Member Gibson Report procedures and policies for the Rikers Island nursery program (Local Law 120)
Council Member Mendez Street co-naming for Ms. Magazine original headquarters (Int )***
Council Member Cabrera/Palma Support a NY state bill which prohibits employers asking salary history (Resolution 1273-2016)
Council Member Rose Expand the definition of employer under the human rights law to provide protections for domestic workers (Int 825)
Council Member Rosenthal Support a NY state bill which provide DV survivors greater access to breaking leases (Resolution 1292-2016)

 *Members of the NYC Council Women’s Caucus include council members: Laurie Cumbo and Helen Rosenthal (Co-Chairs); Margaret Chin; Rosie Mendez; Melissa Mark-Viverito (Speaker); Vanessa L. Gibson; Anabel Palma; Julissa Ferreras-Copeland; Karen Koslowitz; Elizabeth S. Crowley; Darlene Mealy; Inez Barron; Debi Rose.
**Elected to the NYS Assembly in 2016
***Legislation has not been introduced

The Salary History Bill
Int. No. 1253

By the Public Advocate (Ms. James), Council Members Crowley, Cumbo, Rosenthal, Salamanca, Lander, Ferreras-Copeland, Williams, Richards, Palma, Dromm, Rose, Reynoso, Gibson, Espinal, Cornegy, Kallos, Koslowitz, Rodriguez, Levine, Menchaca, Constantinides, Treyger, Torres, Miller, Mendez, Maisel, Chin, Barron, Mealy, Cohen, King, Levin and Eugene

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to prohibiting employers from inquiring about or relying on a prospective employee’s salary history

Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Section 8-107 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new subdivision 25 to read as follows:
25.  Employment; prospective employee salary history. (a) It is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, employment agency, employee or agent thereof:
1.  To inquire, in writing or otherwise, about the salary history, including, but not limited to, compensation and benefits, of an applicant for employment. For purposes of this subdivision, “to inquire” means to ask an applicant in writing or otherwise or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports.
2.  To rely on the salary history of an applicant for employment in determining the salary amount for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including the contract, unless such applicant, unprompted, willingly disclosed such salary history to such employer, employment agency, employee or agent thereof.
(b)  This subdivision does not apply to any actions taken by an employer, employment agency, employee or agent thereof pursuant to any federal, state or local law that authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.

  • 2. This local law takes effect 120 days after it becomes law.

A Tour and High Tea at the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation

We know we are right; we know we shall be successful, we know the day is not far distant, when this government and the world will acknowledge the exact and permanent political equality of
man and woman.
– Matilda Joslyn Gage


Eleanor Aronstein, President, Schenectady AAUW

ESVB enjoyed the High Tea touring the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation!


AAUW NYS District V Conference on “Diversity and Inclusion in Today’s Workplace

Congrats to the organizers, speakers
and all those members and friends
who contributed to the success of
the AAUW NYS District V Conference on
“Diversity and Inclusion in Today’s Workplace”
held at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City on October 15, 2016.


The participants included keynote speaker Bich Ha Pham, Public Advocate NYC; Azadeh Khalili, Executive Director, Commission on Gender Equity, Office of the Mayor, NYC; Pamela Abner, Chief Administrative Officer, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Mount Sinai Hospital; Rippi Karda, Assistant General Counsel, Verizon, Basking Ridge, NJ and Gabrielle Lyse Brown, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, NYC Bar Association. Congrats to the District V Leadership for such a successful Conference!

AAUW StartSmart Salary Negotiation – NYIT

aauw-startsmart1   business-women-400-1          participants-in-salary-negotiation1
                  Business Women 400                                            Participants in Salary Negotiation

gender-pay-gap-by-race1              you-are-your-own-brand1
            The Gender Pay Gap by Race

My Start Smart AHA moment was when I realized that I could have gotten a much higher salary during the role playing exercise. I feel that instead of taking the employer’s word , I should have negotiated more; now I know better!  I really enjoyed the workshop and I learned quite a bit. I want to thank you and everyone involved for taking the time to share this very valuable information with us.

Maryam Khan, NYIT Student
Tues, October 26, 2016

Empire State Virtual Branch Won Many Awards!

NY State Convention Logo 2016Congrats to all the ESVB members and friends who made possible winning so many awards at the AAUW NYS Convention April 15-17, 2016, Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn, NY


1) Award of Distinction for our quarterly Empire Virtual Times newsletter
2) Award of Distinction for our Website
3) Award of Merit for Social Media
4) Award of Excellence for Visibility
5) Membership Award with 10% increase for recruiting and maintaining members
6) 21st Century Program — Silver Award for the  Mentoring
at the College of Mount Saint Vincent
7) Public Policy Award for Voter Registration & Education Award
8) Public Policy Award for STEM
9) Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) Star Branch      Fourteenth (14th) Place Per Capita
Contributions. Specials thanks to our generous members including Dot McLane,
Dr. Chigurupati Rani, Joan Monk!

NYSE: Empowering Women & Girls to lead

nyse-600x320 (1) NYSE Press Photos | American Association of University Women
March 30, 2016 | Opening Bell

It was with great pleasure that Edwina Martin, AAUW NYS president, Melissa Guardaro, UN representative and Maria Ellis, AAUW NYS C/U Director & ESVB President participated in the New York Stock Exchange Opening Bell on March 30, 2016.  Representatives and guests of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) visited the New York Stock Exchange to highlight Women’s History Month.  In honor of the occasion, AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE and AAUW Board Chair Patricia Fae Ho, rang the NYSE Opening Bell®.

Attendees included AAUW’s national staff, our Public Relations manager, Ryan Burwinkel, Nicole  Phillips and representatives from Verizon and Symantec and other AAUW corporate partners.

Congratulations to AAUW’s Senior Leadership!

Congratulations to AAUW’s Senior Leadership
Linda Hallman, Executive Director &
Patricia Fae Ho, President


In October, the mayor, the city’s Office of Women’s Advancement, and AAUW leaders announced an ambitious initiative to offer free AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation trainings to half of Boston’s working women in the next five years. That means training 85,000 women to negotiate higher salaries and better benefits — and making a dent in the gender pay gap, which stands nationally at 21 percent.

Women working full time in the United States typically are paid just 79 percent of what men are paid, and it’s even worse for most women of color. The gender pay gap starts just one year out of college, and it only widens over the course of a career.

One of the many ways that AAUW is fighting the pay gap is by empowering women to negotiate for what they’re worth. That’s why, in 2014, AAUW acquired the Start Smart and Work Smart salary negotiation programs, which focus on college women and working women, respectively, from collaborator WAGE Project.

AAUW Start Smart is designed for college students who are about to enter the job market, and AAUW members have been putting on these workshops for years. AAUW Work Smart is for women who are already working, and it’s now available for AAUW members to get involved in presenting. Both workshops have been completely redesigned using the latest research and negotiation strategies so that participants will leave with the skills and confidence to successfully navigate the complexities of job offers and promotions. To organize a Start Smart or Work Smart salary negotiation program, email AAUW Senior Program Manager Jesse Rauch at rauchj@aauw.org or Maria Ellis at mellis@fsacap.com

AAUW NYS District V Conference

Joanie_MonkTen Reasons to Attend
the District V Conference
Focus on Feminism:
Past & Present, Near & Far

New York Institute of Technology
16 W 61st Street, 11th Floor Auditorium, New York, NY  10023
2:00 – 5:00 pm
October 3, 2015 in NYC

  •  Get the scoop on AAUW NYS Summer Meeting in July 24-26, 2015
  • “What happens at Caze, stays at Caze” need not apply.
  • Spend a Saturday afternoon on campus, enjoying the facilities of one of C/U partners in Manhattan. Tours will be available
  • Hone your networking skills as you meet new members and/or reconnect with dear friends and branch members throughout our District V AAUW NYS branches and to share our successful and fun AAUW mission based programs.
  • Meet Nnenna Agba, AAUW Career Development Grant Recipient from Nigeria; and her mentor Kechie Ogbodo, the founder of Kechie’s Project and learn of her amazing work in Nigeria to educate and empower girls.
  • Celebrate International Day of the Girl by bringing school supplies for Kechie’s Project
  • Take advantage of our special 2/1 offer and bring a girl to this event
  • Become a GI – get informed, get inspired and get involved to revitalize your branch and community.
  • Meet Jennifer Hall Lee, outstanding filmmaker and feminist extraordinaire, and find out why she had to make this film.
  • Let’s focus on feminism, so we can boldly answer when asked, “Are you a feminist?”

To register for the conference, click on the link:  AAUW District V Conference Registration Form

See you on October 3rd!!  Joan Monk, ftmaven@gmail.com



The NYS Assembly unanimously passed NYS Equal Pay Bills on April 27, 2015. The NYS Senate  had approved them earlier this Session. AAUW and others have lobbied for Equal Pay Bills for well over a decade. When the Governor signs the Bills, he has said he will, in 90 days they will be law.

The Women’s Equality Coalition, of which we are a member, reports that A.6075 updates New York Equal Pay Law by creating robust wage secrecy protections, so that employees cannot be fired or retaliated against for sharing their wage information as well as allow for increased damages up to triple the amount of unpaid wages when an employee successfully proves that an employer has willfully violated the law.

These are essential components in achieving pay equity.  A person must know how much others who are doing equal/comparable work are being paid to institute a legal action. Having access to proof that wage discrimination on the basis of gender exists means cases can be won, thus forcing employers to face paying severe damages when they pay employees inequitably. The passage of this law means a reduction in the 86% gender wage gap in NYS.


 Thank your NYS Assembly Member for voting for A6075. Contact info at http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ fill in you zip & address, click and email your message.

  1. Ask your member of the House of Representatives to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act. How? Go to aauw.org; click on Take Action; enter your zip code then complete the Tow Minute Activist. AAUW Action Network members were asked to respond on April 17 to the e-mail titled “Ride the Equal Pay Day Wave”.
  2. It is certainly acceptable to contact your federal legislator more than once about an issue. To paraphrase the Tammany Hall quote ”Write Early and Write Often”

Congratulations on the passage of the NY Equal Pay Bills. It would not have happened without your support.

Nancy Mion, ESVB Public Policy Director

Empire State Virtual Branch New Member

Juliet Tarantino, Empire State Virtual Branch New Member

We are delighted to welcome, Juliet Tarantino, newest primary member of the Empire State Virtual Branch! During fiscal year 2015-2016.”

Juliet Tarantino joins the AAUW with international experience in education and academic training in anthropology (MA in Anthropology for The New School for Social Research). While an undergraduate student at the University of New Hampshire (Dual BA in Anthropology in International Affairs), she organized and led a week-long social justice awareness trip of twelve students to Nicaragua, where trip participants learned about the work of local grassroots organizations and facilitated classroom art activities. Her thesis, based on original research she conducted in Ecuador, examined the entanglement of Ecuadorian Otavaleño’s rejection of tradition alongside their utilization of distinctive traditional dress to bolster their sales of artisan-made items. After graduating from college, Juliet was selected by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education for the position of North American Culture and Language Assistant and taught English in Madrid.

Back in the U.S. and determined to maintain the level of Spanish fluency she had gained in Madrid, Juliet took on the role of Bilingual Intake Coordinator at an immigrant legal services and refugee resettlement agency in Chicago. There, she compiled a series of client stories expressing how their lives had changed after gaining residency in the U.S. She also worked as an independent translator, translating personal statements in support of VAWA cases. Inspired to engage more critically with issues of social justice, Juliet gained her master’s degree in New York City, and began teaching academic research writing to college-bound seniors from underserved high schools. She also coordinates low-cost Spanish classes in her Brooklyn neighborhood as a means of building community. She is interested in immigrant and refugee issues, scholastic achievement gaps, and using research and education to teach social justice.