Tonawanda News

April 2, 2013

County to highlight pay disparity

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Erie County will be bringing attention to unequal pay for women in the workplace. 

The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women announced Monday that it will present an “Unhappy Hour” as a tribute to National Pay Equity Day, which is taking place on April 9.  

In 2011, women earned only 77 percent of what men earned, according to the county, with National Equal Pay Day symbolizing how far into 2013 women must work to earn what men earned in 2012.

“The time for pay equity between genders is long past, and I encourage both women and men to participate in this event and learn what they can do to promote this overdue change,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “It is a disgrace that in 2013, women are still only earning roughly three- quarters as much as their male counterparts. This is a glaring disparity that needs to be corrected and is just one reason why I support the Women’s Equality Act proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.” 

The purpose of “Unhappy Hour” is to raise awareness on the issue of pay equity and to provide networking opportunities and tools that will empower participants in negotiating pay that reflects their worth. The event, which is free and open to women and men 21 years of age and older, will feature a brief presentation from Althea Luehrsen, Executive Director of Leadership Buffalo and an expert on pay equity, who will discuss the issue, the obstacles in women’s way and tips to navigate around those obstacles.

Participants are encouraged to wear the color red, said to be the color of pay equity, to be entered in a drawing to win a door prize. Additionally, women will enjoy discounted drinks, representative of the pay disparity between men and women. 

“The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women works to provide appropriate and meaningful information to women and girls throughout Erie County to help them reach their full potential,” said Sawrie Becker, commissioner of public advocacy. “Providing awareness about the issue of pay equity, the fact that it continues to exist and the serious economic impact it has on women in our community is part of our mission and we are pleased to lead this collaborative effort.”

“Unhappy Hour” was formed through the partnership of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, Canisius College Women’s Business Center, American Association of University Women, the Junior League of Buffalo, WNY Women’s Foundation. It will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. at Templeton Landing, Buffalo.