Originally published in 2019.
In celebration of the women’s soccer team’s (USWNT) fight for equal pay, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the equal pay legislation (titled the pay equity legislation) for New York on Wednesday, July 10.
The governor’s signature comes in the middle of the United States Women’s soccer team’s fight for equal pay.
The 28 players who sued the USWNT for the same individual game pay as
professional male players have won four World Cups, whereas their male counterparts have made it to the finals and semi-finals, but have not brought home the cup. If the men would have brought home a world cup, they would have each received $1.1 million as opposed to the women players, who made $250,000 each.
In a statement on Wednesday, Governor Cuomo said,
“You should get paid the same amount, whatever the job is. These are women's soccer players. They play the same game that the men's soccer players play. By the way, they play it better. They play it with better results. If there is any economic rationale, the men should get paid less than the women.”
This move on Cuomo’s part is a huge step toward equality in the United States. Women generally make 80.5 cents to men's $1, according to a study done in 2017 by the Pay Equity and Discrimination Institute.
The current economic climate shows that 42 states out of 50 have equal pay laws, eight of these states have exemptions for small businesses, and most states’ equal pay acts have other exemptions based on seniority or merit.
New York’s bill is going to expand wage protections to ensure members of legally protected classes. Women and minority groups will get the same pay as those who are non-protected employees for equal or “substantially similar work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility.”
"Let's be honest; this [issue] is all cultural and stereotypical," Cuomo stated. "It is perpetuating a past injustice. Women are not going to take it anymore, and they shouldn't."
Cuomo signed a second bill on July 10, barring businesses from asking potential employees to reveal their salary history—a bill that could help stifle the wage gap.
While a similar bill was passed in 2017, the new bill expands to any business that does work in the state of New York, not just those that reside in the state.