Gotham Gazette Sat, 28 Nov 2020 14:21:57 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb (Webmaster) Proposals Target Closure of Gender Pay Gap powherny rally 3 

photo: @PowherNY

During a recent panel conversation at The New School, only two people in a crowd of about 50 raised their hands when the audience was asked if they were confident there is no gender pay gap in their workplace. The panel, called “Getting Even,” was organized by the Center for New York City Affairs to discuss the causes of the pay gap between men and women and the steps New York City can take to close it.

“When men go into traditionally female occupations, they get paid more. So gender is the only differentiator here,” said moderator Teresa Tritch, a member of the New York Times editorial board. “Male nurses get paid more than female nurses, male flight attendants get paid more than female flight attendants. It’s across occupations, it’s across ages, it’s across educational level.”

While many women receive lesser salaries in the same jobs as men, leading to calls for “equal pay for equal work,” the wage gap is also caused by devaluing so-called “women’s work,” the trend that keeps women in traditionally lower-paying jobs. Pay inequity has been a persistent problem in New York City, where women make up almost half of the workforce. Across sectors and jobs, a woman who works full-time in the city earns 87 cents to every dollar a man makes, according to a recently-released study by Public Advocate Letitia James, published in April. This means on average, a man in New York City makes almost $7,000 more than a woman every year.

The study also found that women working for the city government experience a pay gap that is three times larger than women in the private for-profit sector and 2.5 times larger than women in the private nonprofit sector.

Public Advocate James began looking into the gender wage gap after Local 1180 CWA, a labor union representing mostly public sector workers and some employees from private companies or nonprofit organizations, brought a lawsuit against the city under the administration of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, claiming that administrative managers were being underpaid. At the time of the lawsuit, more than 78 percent of administrative managers in the city were women. But as women became that significant majority in these management positions, the minimum salary fell. Even women who worked for the city for 20 to 30 years made about $7,000 less each year than men with the same experience, according to a CWA statement on the case. The lawsuit was settled by the Bloomberg administration, but James continued her research and found more information on the municipal gender pay gap.

One of the driving factors in the municipal pay gap is the jobs that women typically hold in the public sector. In New York City’s municipal workforce, about 93 percent of employees are unionized, so both men and women are often locked into certain pay scales through collective bargaining.

According to the public advocate’s study, the Department of Education and the Administration for Child Services have the highest percentages of female employees. These agencies have average salaries of $69,901 and $49,606, respectively. Women also make up 70 percent of employees in the Human Resources Administration, which has an average salary of $41,401. Men represent the largest percentage of employees in uniformed workforces, like the Fire Department and the Department of Sanitation, which offer average salaries of $76,488 and $69,339, respectively. The data suggests that women are concentrated in city jobs that traditionally have lower incomes than the jobs that men dominate. Policies like work hours, promotion practices, and civil servant exams also contribute to the wage gap, which the study says should be monitored more closely as part of the effort to close the gap.  

“In order to correct this, we need to correct it first at home,” James told Gotham Gazette in a phone interview, referring to the gender pay gap generally and among city employees more specifically. “We have the ability, given our oversight and our legislative authority, to correct that which we have control over. We should start in-house first.”

The public advocate’s study includes a list of recommended actions to close the municipal wage gap. An Equitable Pay and Opportunity Task Force - made up of city officials, researchers, and political scientists - will be created by the Public Advocate’s office to provide research-based recommendations to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council. This task force will be separate from the mayor’s Commission on Gender Equity and will examine different data and industries, but James has reached out to the mayor’s office with plans to collaborate and is waiting for a response, she said.

Two essential steps to closing the public sector gap, according to James, are disclosing wage information about the public pay scale and preventing inquiries regarding salary history during hiring processes.

“When you talk about previous wage salary, you establish a floor,” said James. “And as a result of that floor, which is discriminatory in nature, you start off with a discriminatory base. So we really want to prohibit city agencies from asking about previous salary information of job applicants.”

City Council Member Ben Kallos, the only man who serves on the Council’s Committee on Women’s Issues, also believes wage disclosure will be an important tool in working towards pay equity.

“You can look up every public employee’s salary and we know what their gender is,” Kallos told Gotham Gazette in a phone interview. “Why can’t we do an automatic and internal audit comparing folks to their collective bargaining and make sure people are getting paid what they’re supposed to? The entire point of the civil service is supposed to be equity and treating people based on what they know, not who they know or what their gender is.”

While the public advocate’s study notes that wage disclosure and the prevention of job application questions regarding previous salary can be encouraged in the private sector, it cannot be mandated that private industries follow these practices. However, wage disclosure could be just as important for the public sector, according to “Getting Even” panelist Beverly Cooper Neufeld, the founder of advocacy group PowHer New York. At the New School event, Neufeld noted wage transparency is necessary for identifying wage gaps, holding employers accountable, and discouraging them from discrimination.

Other solutions offered by the panelists included strongly enforcing anti-discrimination laws, advocating for the right to collective bargaining and a higher minimum wage, support for government programs like universal preschool, laws for paid sick leave and paid family leave, and changing the culture of workplaces.

Some of these potential solutions have already been enacted, such as New York City’s Pre-K For All program, which helps mothers work at all or stay at work longer by providing free child care (though that is not the sole or even top purpose of pre-K, of course). The state also passed a paid family leave policy as part of the 2016-17 state budget and set a path toward a minimum wage of $15 per hour.

Commission on Gender Equity Director Azadeh Khalili, also on the wage gap panel at The New School, said New York City will look to best practices from other cities. She cited a mentor program in Boston as an example, which provides about 80,000 women training in negotiating for themselves.

On changing workplace culture, Neufeld discussed the perception of motherhood in the workplace as a significant factor in the pay gap. She referred to the unofficial “bonus” men receive when they become fathers: they are more valuable to the workforce because they are now working to provide for a family. Women, on the other hand, are devalued when they become mothers because it’s assumed they will spend less time at work and more time with their children. On average, women lose about 4 percent of their earnings every time they have a child, according to a 2014 study by Michelle J. Budig, a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

However, the gender wage gap affects women regardless of parenthood, education level, or occupation.

Women also face inequity as consumers, according to a study on gender pricing published last year by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs. The results showed women’s products cost about 7 percent more than men’s, costing women an additional $1,351 every year, on average. The price difference in products marketed to women - ones identical to men’s products aside from packaging or coloring - is most significant in personal care items, children’s toys, and clothing (for both girls and women), according to the DCA study.

“Our study showed that no matter whether you’re a baby or a senior citizen, you’re still being affected,” DCA Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico said in a phone interview. “You’re paying more than what a male would pay for your whole life.”

The gender wage gap and gender pricing are often considered “women’s issues.” But as more women enter the workforce and become the primary providers for their families, they become economic development issues.

“There are a lot of women in the city of New York who are heads of households,” said Public Advocate James. “And when you cheat them out of an equitable and fair wage, you obviously have an adverse effect on their children and on the local economy.”

by Carmen Russo, Gotham Gazette
@carmenjrusso @GothamGazette

Proposals Target Closure of Gender Pay Gap Tue, 31 May 2016 04:00:00 +0000
More Evidence Punitive NYPD Youth Programs Fail Bratton NYPD

(photo via @NYPDnews)



This week the New York Times revealed the content of an internal NYPD report showing that a much lauded juvenile crime program doesn’t work. It’s yet another example of misguided punitive policing, offering little by way of actual progress.

Originally developed under the title “Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program” (J-RIP), it targets past juvenile offenders in hopes of preventing future crime. The original J-RIP program, which began in Brownsville in 2007 and expanded to East Harlem in 2009, targeted juvenile robbery offenders who were back in the community. These youths were given a clear message that they were under enhanced police supervision and would face significant consequences if rearrested. They were also offered mentoring and a few support services by police in hopes of steering them in the right direction.

In practice, the program offered little in the way of services. Young people were given a chance to participate in existing programs like the Police Athletic League (PAL) and were regularly visited by uniformed officers in their homes and on the streets. While these officers were supposed to be acting as mentors and monitors, defense lawyers reported that officers sometimes used these visits as a pretext to conduct searches and that they sometimes called attention to program relationships in front of other youth, potentially marking them as informants—a dangerous label in these neighborhoods.

No real services, such as job placement or family counseling were provided, and the officers involved had no special social services training, playing a primarily surveillance and enforcement role.

In April of 2014, NYPD Chief Joanne Jaffe, who developed the program, spoke at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School, where she lauded J-RIP as being highly effective. She provided data that showed that over the course of the program robberies in the targeted areas had fallen significantly. What she did not discuss, but the November 2014 NYPD evaluation report makes clear, is that the decline mirrored city-wide trends and that J-RIP participants were rearrested at the same or higher rates than youth with similar records in the same and nearby neighborhoods without J-RIP.

Even though the 2014 report showed there were no crime reductions under J-RIP, the NYPD has moved forward with an expansion of the program in a different guise.

In early 2015, the NYPD rolled out NYC Ceasefire, under the leadership of Susan Herman, Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing. The new version focuses more on gun crimes and adds group “call-in” meetings in which the targeted youth are brought in and lectured by police and community members about the harmful effects of their violent actions and the potential enhanced consequences of additional violent offenses. They are then placed under extensive surveillance regimes and targeted for enhanced punishments if caught re-offending. They are also offered some minimal services, primarily in the form of a centralized referral phone number run by a local non-profit that is there to link young people to already existing programs.

J-RIP and NYC Ceasefire are both examples of “Focused Deterrence” programs. Developed by criminologist David Kennedy, and first implemented in Boston in 1996, they attempt to stop gun violence or other serious crime through intensive and targeted enforcement combined with support services.

Ideally this model begins with a community mobilization effort in partnership with local police. The goal is to send a unified message to young people that serious crime will no longer be tolerated. If it occurs, they will use every resource at their disposal (“pulling levers”) to not only apprehend the assailant but to disrupt the street life of young people involved in crime across the board. The hope is that young people will choose to avoid violence so that they can concentrate on socializing and low level criminality free of constant police harassment. This is based on research that showed that a great deal of shooting was not drug or robbery related but involved a constant tit for tat of revenge gunfire by rival factions of young people engaged primarily in turf battles.

The key is to break that cycle of retribution and gun carrying. To achieve this, young people believed to be involved in violence are called into meetings with local police and community leaders and threatened with intensive surveillance and enforcement if the gun violence doesn’t stop. These “call ins” are made possible in part because many of these young people are on probation or parole for past offenses.

In addition to more intensive enforcement efforts, there is usually an effort to develop some targeted social services with the hope that this will help draw some of these young people away from violence and towards education and employment opportunities.

This approach relies primarily on intensive punitive enforcement efforts such as surveillance, investigations, arrests, and intensified prosecutions. Also, the social services offered tend to be very thin, involving some counseling and recreational opportunities but rarely access to actual jobs or advanced educational placements.

Some youth are able to get GEDs and access some social programs, but very few wind up with jobs, much less well-paying or stable ones. In some cases the focus is on a variety of life skills and socialization classes which do nothing to create real opportunities for people and reinforce the ethos of personal responsibility that often ends up blaming the victim for their unemployment and educational failure in a community that tends to be incredibly poor, underserved, segregated, and dangerous.

Evaluation research of these programs does show some meaningful declines in crime that can even last for years. Overall, though, the results are quite thin. Most reductions are small, occur in only a few crime categories, and don’t last very long. They also continue to reinforce a punitive mindset about how to deal with young people in high crime, high poverty communities, most of whom are not white.

It is certainly true that violent crime is heavily concentrated among a fairly small population of young people in specific neighborhoods. It makes more sense to target them than indiscriminately stopping and frisking or arresting and summonsing hundreds of thousands of young people who have either done nothing wrong or engaged in minor misbehavior. Despite the claims of the Broken Windows theory, there really isn’t a strong connection between the two groups.

The problem lies not in the targeting, but in the methods used. Most young people who engage in serious criminality are already living in harsh and dangerous circumstances. They are fearful of other youth, abusive family members, and the prospect of a future of joblessness and poverty. They don’t need more threats and punishment in their lives.

They need stability, positive guidance, and real pathways out of poverty. This requires a long-term commitment to their well-being, not a telephone referral and home visits by the same people who arrest and harass them and their friends on the streets. It was Bill Bratton, in his first stint as NYPD commissioner, who pointed out that police officers are not social workers, they’re not trained for it, nor prepared for it, and that’s not their role. Why would they be the best-suited for engaging these young people as mentors or life skills trainers? They aren’t.

It makes much more sense to do two types of things.

First, we have to have a real conversation about entrenched racialized poverty concentrated in highly-segregated neighborhoods. These are the neighborhoods that continue to be the main source of violent crime problems. It is true that crime has declined overall without major reductions in poverty or segregation, but it’s also true that the crime that remains is concentrated in these areas. And, unlike aggressive policing and mass incarceration, doing something about racialized poverty and exclusion would have general benefits for society in terms of reducing poverty, inequality, and racial injustice.

Second, we need to use peer-based mentoring systems and outreach workers, who can talk to people from a shared position of living in one of these neighborhoods. The power of that connection for building credibility cannot be overstated. Recently, Mayor de Blasio has expanded a number of City Council-developed initiatives to use violence interrupters and other community-based and public health-oriented interventions to reduce gun violence.

So-called “cure violence” programs like SOS Crown Heights, and GMACC in East Flatbush are training young adults to break the cycle of violence through rumor control, gang truces, and ongoing engagement with youth out on the streets. They provide safe spaces for young people to talk out their problems and when well-funded, provide real services to them and their families to deal with problems of housing, education, and unemployment, as well as mental illness and substance abuse.

It’s time for Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to abandon NYC Ceasefire and other focused deterrence initiatives that primarily criminalize young people. We already know that jails and prisons produce much worse life outcomes for these youth. Let’s stop relying on coercion and control and try more compassion and concern.

Alex S. Vitale is associate professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and author of City of Disorder: How the Quality of Life Campaign Transformed New York Politics. He is senior policy adviser to the Police Reform Organizing Project and serves on the New York State Advisory Committee to the US Civil Rights Commission. You can follow him on Twitter: @avitale

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More Evidence Punitive NYPD Youth Programs Fail Wed, 06 Jan 2016 04:42:41 +0000