Governor Kathy Hochul, joined by Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, delivers remarks on Women’s Equality Day at the Center For Women in Government at the University at Albany Downtown Campus, Friday morning August 26, 2022. (Mike Groll / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Directs Department of Labor To Examine the Impact of COVID-19 on Women in the Workforce and Explore Equitable Solutions

Issues Proclamation and Orders State Assets Illuminated in Recognition of Women’s Equality Day

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Department of Labor will provide a report analyzing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the workplace with a particular focus on the multi-layered gender wage gap. This report will build on the findings of the 2018 Gender Wage Gap report, co-chaired by Governor Hochul and NYSDOL Commissioner Roberta Reardon, which included a number of policy and programmatic recommendations to close the wage gap.

Governor Hochul announced the new report on Women’s Equality Day, a federally recognized holiday celebrating the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The Governor also signed a proclamation declaring August 26 Women’s Equality Day in the State of New York and ordered state assets illuminated purple and gold in recognition.

“As New York State’s first female Governor, I hope to send a message to women and girls across the world that they can be anything they want to be,” Governor Hochul said. “In highlighting the struggles women have faced throughout the pandemic, we are taking an important step toward ensuring equality in the workforce and beyond. Today, we are ensuring the future we leave for our daughters and granddaughters is an even brighter, fairer one than was left to us.”

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “It is no secret that, from a workforce perspective, the pandemic has taken a damaging toll on women, reversing significant strides we have achieved over the last decade. I am proud to continue to work with Governor Hochul to tackle this longstanding economic issue to ensure New York is a state of workplace and pay equality.”

NYSDOL will use the latest available data to evaluate key factors impacting women in the workforce, including the wage gap, New York’s child care infrastructure, and other issues. DOL will also hold a series of public hearings to gather expert testimony and public input for the report. The report will share findings outlining recommendations designed to empower women while also advancing New York State’s diverse and robust economy. This is the latest in a series of efforts to recognize and close the gender wage gap in New York State.

In highlighting the struggles women have faced throughout the pandemic, we are taking an important step toward ensuring equality in the workforce and beyond.

Governor Kathy Hochul

As the first woman Governor of New York State, Governor Hochul has been and continues to be a forceful advocate for women’s equality. Since taking office, the Governor has:

  • Enacted pioneering legislation to protect reproductive rights and announced a groundbreaking $35 million in funding to protect and support abortion providers in New York.
  • Announced the largest investment in child care in state history.
  • Signed into law landmark bills to empower survivors of sexual violence and harassment.

New York State has made many strides to advance pay equity in recent years, including enacting a Salary History Ban, which prohibits all employers — both public and private — from asking prospective or current employees about their salary history and compensation. NYSDOL also has free resources to help all job seekers, including a Salary Negotiation Guide to help New Yorkers make the most of their earning power.

The following state assets will be illuminated in recognition of Women’s Equality Day:

  • One World Trade Center
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • MTA Long Island Rail Road – East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal

Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, “Since becoming the first female Governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul has been a fierce supporter of women’s issues across the state. On this Women’s Equality Day, we are taking a historic step forward to study the direct impact of COVID-19 on women in the workplace and the effect of the pandemic on the gender pay gap. As Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, I sincerely appreciate and applaud Governor Hochul’s efforts to continue lifting up women across New York, and I look forward to our continued work together.”