NYC Just Took a Big Step Toward Closing the Gender Pay Gap

In a move that would impress Lady Liberty herself, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just signed an executive order that could help end the cycle of pay discrimination toward women and people of color.

Executive Order 21, signed today by Mayor de Blasio, will ban NYC agencies from inquiring about a job applicant's salary history before extending an offer of employment. Because questions regarding an applicant's previous compensation history are often used to determine starting pay in a new role, this practice could help stop the cycle of wage suppression for women and people of color.

While the order currently applies only to city agencies in New York, it's a promising sign of progress that is receiving praise from politicians, lawmakers, and NYC citizens.

  • "Back in 1976, when I graduated from college, women were paid roughly 60 cents for every dollar that men were paid. That means my classmates and I were valued less than our male peers and destined for a lifetime of less income. The disparity in pay is even greater for women of color. . . . The Commission on Gender Equity, which I cochair, is working hard to address this issue and create a city where everyone is treated equally. Today's executive order will advance equal pay for equal work in our city, beginning with our hardworking public servants." — NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray
  • "Thank you to my great city of New York. You've paved the way for a new day when our present and future are no longer limited to the past." — Gloria Steinem
  • "Because women earn less than men across the board, a vicious cycle is created when employers can base pay on what was previously earned. Eliminating questions about previous earnings is an important step in guaranteeing equal pay in employment and provides a model for private sector employers." — Executive Director of A Better Balance Sherry Leiwant
  • "It is astounding that in 2016, women and people of color are still systematically paid less for the same work as their white male counterparts. . . . Fairness and dignity in the workplace starts with a paycheck, and I thank the de Blasio Administration for ensuring that prospective city employees will be paid based on their worth." — Council Member Vanessa Gibson
  • "Compensation should be based on a worker's skills for a job, not on gender or race. By using salary history to set wages, employers unwittingly perpetuate the inequitable pay a woman typically earns at the start of her career, which multiplies with each job, limiting financial security and career advancement. We applaud Mayor de Blasio's bold policy which will help break this cycle of wage discrimination and close the wage gap." — President of PowHer New York Beverly Neufeld
  • "This is a great step in the right direction. Asking women for their prior salary helps keep women's compensation artificially low. We applaud the mayor's initiative." — Cochair of the Commission on Gender Equity Silda Palerm
  • "By disallowing the practice of requesting job applicants' salary history until a conditional job offer has been made, the mayor has helped city agencies move closer to ensuring fairer employment practice and pay for this portion of the workforce that is often vulnerable to underpayment and exploitation. For Asian New Yorkers, 29 percent of who live below the poverty line, this change translates into more opportunities for individuals and families to succeed and thrive." — Executive Director of the Asian American Federation Jo-Ann Yoo