On Monday, December 19th, the New Jersey State Legislature will vote to override the veto of S-992, the NJ Pay Equity Act, a bill designed to empower women with the tools needed to gain equal pay for equal work. Data shows that if New Jersey's women received equal pay for equal work, the poverty rate for working women in the state would drop by half and the economy would grow by $16.6 billion according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The NJ Pay Equity Act was passed earlier this year by both the New Jersey Senate and Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support. Our organizations, which represent women leaders across the state, strongly urge the legislature to override the veto of this bill.
It is deeply disturbing that we are still debating whether women should receive equal pay for equal work. Equal pay should not be controversial nor should it be negotiable. As evidenced in the 2015 EWNJ report on gender diversity in senior corporate leadership, "A Seat at the Table: Celebrating Women and Board Leadership," women deliver significant and quantifiable business value to companies. At companies where women comprise 15% or more of the senior management there is a 52% higher return on equity and a 22% higher ratio of dividend payout than those with 10% or fewer women in management. Nonetheless, New Jersey women are still only paid 80 cents for every dollar earned by men and this number is substantially worse for women of color. Moreover, the wage gap is prevalent across all business sectors and educational backgrounds. This inequity not only negatively impacts women and their families, but it also harms the economic progress of our state. It is time for New Jersey to ensure that women are paid based on their work and merit rather than their gender.
Maureen Schneider, Ph.D., MBA President
Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ)
Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey (WPCNJ)