The fight for women’s equality has deep roots here in Central New York.
In 1848, the nation’s first women’s rights convention was held right up the road in Seneca Falls. Organized by pioneering figures like Matilda Joslyn Gage — who was born in Cicero and lived in Fayetteville — as well as Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the convention served as a launching pad for women’s rights.
Meetings were held annually thereafter and grew larger. Decades after that monumental convention, on Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified, granting the right to vote to women across the country.
What few people realize is that New York actually allowed women to vote three years before the federal government, making this year the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage here in our state.
And just last year, we passed legislation to become one of the first states in the country to offer paid family leave benefits, which will allow new mothers to spend more time with their child without sacrificing their financial well-being.
I also helped pass legislation that was signed into law last year to improve services and training to help more women access better jobs and career growth (Ch. 460 of 2016).
While we’ve made a lot of progress, there’s still work to do. Currently, women earn 80 cents for every dollar men make, placing an unfair roadblock in the way of their economic security. Employees should be paid the same for equal work, period — gender should never determine a person’s salary.
That’s why I helped pass the New York State Fair Pay Act, which ensures pay equity in the workplace and strengthens equal pay protections (A.4696). I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do the same. The measure would also ensure that jobs traditionally held by female and minority employees are not undervalued.
The centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage here in New York is not only a time to reflect on the past and the strides we’ve made, but to also renew our commitment to fairness for women and all New Yorkers, because our communities will only grow stronger when everyone is given equal rights and a fair chance.
As always, my door is open. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about this or any other community issue at (315) 452-1115 or via email at StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.