Report Reveals NYC Government Pays Women Of Color Less Than White and Male Colleagues

The New York City Council Data Team released a report that finds a staggering pay gap between women of color who work for NYC and their white coworkers. 

The report shows city employees who identify as Black, Latino, or Asian earn an average of 84 cents for every $1 that white city employees make. For gender-related disparities, for every $1 that white male city workers make, other city employees only make 82 cents on average.

Women of color make up over two-thirds of the overall racial pay gap among government employees. Between the 2018 and 2021 fiscal year, women of color received the smallest increase in their pay gaps with white male workers—up 3.8% or less. “In contrast, white female employees, Black or African American male employees, and male employees who identify as Other race/ethnicity saw the largest reduction of their pay gap over this period,” the report reads. 

“Hispanic or Latino male employees came the closest to eliminating the pay gap with white male employees in 2021 ($0.95 on the dollar), followed by white female employees ($0.91 on the dollar) and Asian male employees ($0.90 on the dollar).”

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), NYPD, and FDNY were highlighted as the agencies with the largest racial/ethnic pay gaps. Between ABHLO (Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino and Other Race/Ethnicities) and white employees, DCAS has the largest pay gap, with a difference of $28,065.16. The first responder agencies come in second place with pay differences of $24,539 and $27,766, respectively. 

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) also ranked as agencies with large racial pay gaps, with DEP’s difference at $16,089.52 and DOT’s difference at $15,716.20. 

Based on data collected on employee salaries since the Pay Equity Law passed in 2019, councilmember women of color, Crystal Hudson, Farah Louis, and Carmen de La Rosa, are proposing legislation that would provide career counseling, advertise jobs, and survey “workplace culture” through the city agencies. “These findings demonstrate a long-standing trend of women, and non-white employees, being undervalued and underpaid,” said de La Rosa, who chairs the Council’s women’s caucus. 

Mayoral spokesperson Amaris Cockfield released a statement saying the administration working under Mayor Eric Adams would review the Council’s report. 

Adams has appointed several women and people of color to top positions, including deputy mayors and commissioners, and has taken steps toward leveling certain disparities among government workers.

“Mayor Adams has taken numerous steps to dramatically close the pay gap women of color still face — including by signing legislation amending Local Law 32 of 2022, requiring employers in New York City to post a salary range with all job postings, and launching Women Forward NYC, our administration’s effort to address gender disparities by connecting women to professional development and higher-paying jobs,” she said.

However, recent updates show that those initiatives still need some work. According to Spectrum News 1,  two top officials — Judge Sylvia Hinds-Radix and the Civilian Complaint Review Board interim chair, Arva Rice — were unexpectedly relieved of duty in late April 2024.

Hinds-Radix reportedly left due to her concern over the city representing the mayor in a sexual assault lawsuit, and Rice left, in part, over her criticism of the lack of discipline of two police officers involved in the shooting death of Bronx resident Kawaski Trawick.

The news raises questions about Adams’ empowerment of women of color and management style. Once hired for their impressive resumes, the women now seem to be at odds for using their expertise to advise the mayor. “Is he the type of leader that someone can work for or should work for?” Christina Greer, Moynihan Public Fellow Scholar and NY1 commentator, said.

“As we see more and more women leaving, there are questions of whether or not this mayor knows how to delegate, whether he’s focused, whether he’s assembled the people in the right places to help the city thrive.”

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