'Deliver for women': Coalition calls on Hochul to sign bills addressing gender, pay disparities

Originally published in Times Union on November 22, 2022.

New York women say they don't want the momentum from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s historic win to lapse.

ALBANY — Earlier this month, Gov. Kathy Hochul made history as the first woman to be elected governor of New York. The women who made up much of her base are now demanding that she use that momentum to enact laws they have long pushed for, citing lingering inequity in issues like childcare and wage gaps. 

Among the dozens of women advocacy groups and elected officials who converged in New York City on Tuesday to celebrate Hochul’s victory, several speakers had a clear message."We are here to celebrate ... but we’re also here to remind Kathy Hochul that women delivered for you," Queens Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas said. "Now you need to deliver for women."

Multiple Democratic lawmakers took the opportunity to advocate for economic equity and family care legislation, asking Hochul to sign several bills that they say would reduce the pay and labor disparities that some women still face in the state. That legislation includes a measure that would fund universal childcare for working parents and immigrant families, as well as raising salaries for childcare workers. 

Many also called for higher minimum wages, arguing that it is primarily women who shoulder lower-income and direct care service jobs. The last time the Legislature raised minimum wage was four years ago; Democrats are calling for another increase to $21.25 per hour, from the current rate of $15 per hour for most workers. 

"It's just the beginning of the work to ensure that we are putting a state that fully recognizes women. We are all people who deserve peace of mind,  deserve equal pay, who deserve dignity on the job," said state Sen. Jessica Ramos, who represents Queens, noting the "aggressively progressive women's economic agenda" heading into the next budget session.