New York Sen. Hillary Clinton joined city lawmakers and members of advocacy groups Monday at Barnard College in a forum to raise awareness on wage disparities between men and women.
This is an issue for men, for children, for families, Clinton said. Im concerned about the thousands and thousands of New Yorkers whose jobs are at risk today.
According to Merble Reagon, executive director of the Womens Center for Education and Career Advancement, women in New York state earn on average about 75 cents for every dollar earned by men. This statistic becomes lower when certain groups are analyzed independently: black women make 66 cents to the dollar, Native American women 60 and Latino women 56.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) reiterated Clintons message by calling for an end to pay discrimination.
A woman shouldnt have to work 16 months to make what a man makes in a year, Maloney said. When you discriminate against a woman, you discriminate against her children and her husband.
The speakers said much of the inequity in pay is due to employers failing to view women as the primary financial contributor to households.
Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report highlighting the enforcement of gender discrimination laws. Clinton made an effort to communicate her strong disappointment in the Bush administrations response to the gender gap in wages. She said the government regulation committees have failed to strictly enforce gender discrimination laws.
The GAO report is a ringing indictment of the Bush administration, Clinton said.
In response to the millions of American families facing foreclosure in the midst of the housing crisis, she sees an urgent need for the government to act.
I think its past time for [homeowners] to be heard, Clinton said. It wasnt until the current crisis hit Wall Street that the administration decided to act.
Clinton said she is also concerned about the thousands of New Yorkers whose jobs are at risk due to the turbulent economy.
Hopefully in January we will have a new team, Clinton added, but we cannot wait.
Clinton, who ran a bitter fight against Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, seemed to enjoy herself during the question-and-answer session.
When asked what Clinton would do if she was in the White House and the phone rang at 3 a.m. with an economic crisis, she immediately lit up with a smile on her face.
I would answer the phone! she said. Im not sure President Bush did.