Governor Malloy: Gov. Malloy: State Issues Proposals to Close Gender Wage Disparity

 
{Governor Malloy Press Release Masthead}
 
 November 19, 2013
 
 
GOV. MALLOY: STATE ISSUES PROPOSALS TO CLOSE GENDER WAGE DISPARITY
 
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced results of a nine-month study into the gender wage gap in Connecticut’s workforce.  In January, the Governor directed the state Department of Labor, led by Commissioner Sharon Palmer, and the Department of Economic and Community Development, led by Commissioner Catherine Smith, to study and recommend ways to eliminate pay inequity.
 
“In this day and age it’s unacceptable for women, doing the same work, to earn less than men for no reason other than being a woman.  Earlier this year, I created a task force headed by the state’s labor and economic development agencies to examine Connecticut’s wage gap,” said Governor Malloy.  “Commissioners Palmer and Smith and the other task force members, after a thorough process, have drawn up a list of achievable recommendations that I believe will help eliminate gender wage discrimination and bring full economic equality in the workplace.”
 
According to a study by the American Association of University Women, when comparing the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers, the gender pay gap is 23% nationally and 22% in Connecticut.
 
The Governor’s Gender Wage Gap Task Force studied factors that contribute to Connecticut’s private sector gender wage gap, identified best practices to address the inequity, and recommended actions that can be taken by businesses to remedy the problem.
 
“I am proud that Connecticut is making strides in our efforts to monitor the gender wage gap that not only hurts women and families, but is harmful to our state’s economy,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “It is critical for the private sector to consider these recommendations so that women can begin to better support their families and retire with greater security.”
 
The recommendations of the task force are focused on the following themes: awareness, education, support for working women, monitoring, and promoting pay equity in the private sector.  Some of the recommendations include:
 
  • Increase awareness of the gender wage gap by holding a conference on pay equity, promoting trainings that combat gender bias and generating educational materials about existing equal pay laws that can be used in private companies;
  • Recognize the “best businesses for women” in Connecticut;
  • Coordinate with programs designed to encourage girls and minority groups to explore non-traditional occupations, particularly in STEM fields;
  • Encourage colleges and universities to teach students, especially young women, how to leverage their market value in the private sector by negotiating their salaries and starting positions;
  • Encourage companies to self-audit, evaluate, and correct any gender pay gaps;
  • Encourage companies to limit the practice of pay secrecy by publishing salary ranges and to foster open discussion among employees regarding wages;
  • Identify and promote private-sector jobs that offer greater levels of long-term economic security for women; and
  • Develop a methodology for companies serving as state contractors of goods and services to report on gender pay equity.
 
Because women play an increasingly important role in the financial security of families, wage disparity between genders is not just a “women’s concern” but also a broader economic issue.  The task force reports that while more mothers than ever before are the sole or primary source of family income, women in Connecticut are more likely than men to fall below the federal poverty level and self-sufficiency standard.
 
“Equal wages for women would be a huge economic stimulus and bring greater stability to thousands of households in Connecticut,” said Commissioner Smith.  “Connecticut has made progress to improve pay equity in recent years, but more must be done before the gender wage gap is eliminated.  And that’s where the task force’s work comes in; we believe there are actions the state, our university systems, and the private sector can take to improve the wage gap.”
 
“We are hopeful that these recommendations will bring us several steps closer toward closing the gender pay gap that unfortunately still exists in this country,” noted Commissioner Palmer. “With the current pay inequities, a woman is making thousands less each year – and this has a detrimental impact on the social and economic health of our families and the entire state. While we need to raise awareness, we also must take specific actions to positively impact today’s working women as well as the workforce of the future.”
 
 
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For Immediate Release: November 19, 2013
Contact: Samaia Hernandez
Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy
860-524-7314 (office)
860-770-8298 (cell)
 
Contact: Nancy Steffens
Department of Labor
Nancy.Steffens@ct.gov
860-263-6537 (office)