What is PowHer New York doing to reduce the gender pay gap?

PowHer New York (PowHerNY) is a network of 100+ diverse organizations and individuals collaborating to accelerating economic equality for 10 million New York women and their families. Its decade-long Equal Pay Campaign raises awareness about wage inequity, sponsors online initiatives, coordinates state-wide actions, and promotes the passage of stronger laws in New York, most recently the New York City Salary History Ban.

Each April, PowherNY Partners hold rallies across the state for Equal Pay Day, the largest in New York City which attracts 100s of advocates, top government officials and leaders . As well, PowHerNY sponsors projects to highlight the significant wage disparity for women of color. Our multipronged efforts have led to governmental action, like the NYS Governor’s Gender Wage Gap study which outlines the administration’s robust plans to implement significant policy changes.

Through the collective action of our Network Partners, we build intersectional collaborations to advance new strategies. Our social media election season initiative, PowHer the Vote, ensured that equal pay and other issues relevant to women’s economic security were part of the public debate. With the online participation of 50 organizations, PowHerNY spotlighted 10 questions, held online discussions, shared issue-related blog posts and resources, and reached over one million people, illustrating that social media is a powerful tool in culture change.

Working to engage business as change agents, the New York City Commission on Gender Equity and PowherNY partnered to create a guide, Leveling the Paying Field This was a step in PowHerNY’s initiative to reach out to companies committed to closing the wage and opportunity gap for workers to develop a “best practices initiative” in New York. PowHerNY is establishing an Equal Pay Business Leaders Group to craft strategies to educate and inspire employers; design a series of forums and workshops; and partner with state and local government.

In what way can EPIC be relevant to PowHer New York?

PowHer New York is honoured to be a member of EPIC and part of this vibrant international community seeking solutions to wage inequality. The EPIC Forum was a unique opportunity for business, government, and civil society to share models, new programs, and resources in advancing pay equity. Creating more opportunities to learn from each other would be relevant and immensely helpful in advancing PowHerNY’s work.

EPIC’s commitment to the concept of Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value is noteworthy. To significantly reduce the effects of wage discrimination, societies must address why and how we undervalue, underpay and overwork women. To tackle this centuries-old unfair labour practice, champions need clear messaging to explain the inequity, how it can be addressed, methods of calculating job equivalence, as well as examples of how it has been enacted. EPIC’s role in developing and disseminating materials, gathering data, and sharing best practices and new research is critical in fostering policy reform.

PowHerNY social media efforts have proven effective in educating the public and influencing decision makers. We welcome EPIC’s online participation which would add an international voice, knowledge and perspective. This would certainly enrich the public discourse, deepen understanding of pay equity, and connect our community with a growing global movement.