On August 3rd, the Network joined PowHer New York, a statewide network of over 100 gender and racial justice organizations, for a virtual rally with advocates and elected officials to bring attention to the drastic wage gap nationally and locally for Black women who make $0.63 on the dollar compared to their white male counterparts.
New York’s human services sector including those who work in supportive housing know this wage inequality all too well. According to the Human Services Council report, Essential or Expendable? in New York City, Human services workers are overwhelmingly female (66%), over two-thirds are full-time workers of color (68%), and nearly half (46%) are women of color. On average nonprofit human service workers make about 71% of what government employees make, and 82% of what private sector workers receive for the same roles. The City and State have continued to deny our workforce cost of living adjustments, creating instability for staff, their families and the communities in which they live.
At the virtual rally, advocates and elected officials spoke to the issue of wage inequity and called for an end to it:
Attorney General Tish James launched the event by stating, “It takes Black women one year and six months to make the same amount of money that our white male counterpart makes in just one year. The truth is, it’s not just losing out on one year of pay. This happens every single year for Black women, Latina women, Native-American women, and Transgender women. It cheats us out of thousands and thousands of dollars that we fairly and rightfully earn. And also hurts our families and the economy. This is unacceptable.”
“Black women are on the frontlines, they are the essential workers, and they are literally keeping this country running, yet they are not being paid fairly or equally.” said Shannon Williams, Director of Equal Pay Today Campaign, Equal Rights Advocates. “As Black women continue to play catch up, earning only .63 cents to that of the dollar of their white male counterparts, waiting an additional 8 months to make what their white male colleagues made in just the previous 12 months alone, it’s time to say enough is enough.”
Assemblymember Didi Barrett stated, “There is little evidence of systemic sexism and racism more stark than the pay gap in the US. For every dollar paid to men, women earn 82 cents, and Black women, only 62 cents."
The virtual rally also advocated for a new legislative solution, Salary Range Transparency Bill (A6529 Joyner - S5598A Ramos) to solve for the absence of transparency in pay practices, which is a leading factor underlying pay discrimination by perpetuating environments that foster systemic racial and gender-based disparities.
The Network continues to advocate with our partners the Human Services Council (HSC) for pay equity for the supportive housing community and wider human services sector.