A measure that would expand the definition of equal pay for equal work was approved Wednesday by Governor Andrew Cuomo — who called the issue a matter of fairness.
"If you don’t pay women what you pay men, then you have no business in the state of New York," Cuomo said.
Cuomo also approved a bill that would bar employers from asking prospective workers about their pay history — something experts say has made the pay gap between men and women worse.
"It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s not just the moral thing to do, it’s also the law in the state of New York," Cuomo said.
The bills were signed as the U.S. Women’s soccer team marched in a parade in New York City after their World Cup victory. The issue of pay discrimination has been highlighted by the team’s success: The women’s team is paid less than what the men’s team earns.
"These 23 champions are banging on the glass ceiling that is still in existence in the United States of America," Cuomo said.
The pay gap doesn’t just fall on gender barriers, but also racial lines as well. But for many Americans, the soccer team has been a prominent example of the wage gap at all levels of the workforce.
"We are going to break the glass ceiling and their performance shows how unfair the system is. There is no rationale why the women should not get paid what the men get paid," Cuomo said.
Not present at the bill signings, however, were prominent women in the Legislature. Senator Alessandra Biaggi, the bill’s sponsor, was not invited.