Overcoming Gender Pay Inequity Forum



Overcoming Gender Pay Inequity Forum– November 14, 2019


The Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR) and the O’Neill Endowed Chair at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), sponsored a forum on “Overcoming Gender Pay Inequity in Connecticut,” on November 14, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Speakers included Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and Deputy Attorney General Margaret Chapple, and Keynote Speaker Maya Raghu, Director of Workplace Equality at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C..

The event consisted of three panels which covered:

  • The Status of Pay Equity in Connecticut
  • Disproportionately Impacted Communities
  • Strategies & Policies to Close the Wage Gap

Moderators for the panel included: Kate Farrar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), Carina Rosa, a CCSU Honors Program student, Dr. Jessica Greenbaum, Sociology Department, with Yamia Gibson, a Sociology major at CCSU, and Dr. Robbin Smith, Chair of the Political Science Department accompanied by Christian Reyes, who is pursuing a major in Political Science at CCSU. 

The expert panelists represented many organizations and institutions across Connecticut, including the State Legislature, the Comptroller’s Office, the CT AFL-CIO, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the University of Connecticut and CCSU.

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz gave welcome remarks, emphasizing the importance of gender pay equality equity in Connecticut and recognizing CCSU’s efforts to create a discussion. Maya Raghu, a national policy expert on gender pay inequity, delivered a keynote address. Her speech focused on the state of gender pay equity nationally and policies that have been implemented or could be introduced to decrease pay inequity.

After lunch, Deputy Attorney General Margaret Chapple addressed the audience and discussed the Attorney General office’s efforts to address gender pay inequalities in Connecticut.

Student Focused and Student Activated Programs

One underlying purpose of these types of events is the development of student-focused and student activated programs. Consistent with this approach, CCSU student representatives were given great consideration in helping develop the panel. These students were:

  • Caleb Pittman, our stellar Policy and Research Assistant, who first worked for us as an undergraduate Political Science major in CCSU’s Honors Program. Caleb recently graduated and is now matriculated in the Masters in of Public Policy Program at UConn.
  • Kristina DeVivo, our Center’s outstanding, senior student research assistant, graphic designer, and our conduit to the Student Government Association (SGA) at CCSU.  Kristina is pursuing a dual degree in Political Science and Sociology at CCSU.
  • Political Science major Christian Reyes and Sociology major Yamia Gibson worked with professors from their respective departments to develop questions for panelists. They then moderated these panels, where they were given the opportunity to directly ask questions to state legislators, policy experts, and activists.

They were involved in:

  • policy research, research of statistics and policies relating to pay equity in Connecticut and other states,
  • preparation of panel invitations,
  • selection of the panel moderators,
  • drafting of thought-provoking questions to be asked of panelists,
  • development of panel format and program logistics, public relations,
  • panel agenda and related materials. preparation and design of forum agenda and related materials.

Academic Support

Academic support for the event was provided by Roshanay Tahir, SGA President, Jacqueline Cobbina-Boivins, the Women’s Center Director, Chair Dr. Robbin Smith and the CCSU Department of Political Science, Chair  Dr. Carlos Liard-Muriente and the Economics Department, Dr. Samantha Schenck, Planning Committee, Chair Dr. Fiona Pierson and the Sociology Department, and Dr. Jessica Greenbaum, the Director of Women’s Studies.  Our off-campus co-sponsors included CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund (Executive Director Kate Farrar), CT NAACP, Hispanic Federation of CT (Ingrid Alvarez- DiMarzo, the NE regional State Director), CT Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (Atty. Cheryl Sharpe, Deputy Director),  The United States of Women (Brittney Yancey, Greater Hartford Ambassador), and The American Association of University Women (Stephanie Dubinsky, President of the CT Chapter).


Student Research

CCSU student researchers discovered the following facts about the gender pay gap in Connecticut:

  • In 2017, Connecticut women in Connecticut who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $938, or which is 85.1 percent of the $1,102 median usual weekly earnings of their male counterparts as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • On average, Connecticut women in Connecticut who are employed full time lose a combined total of nearly $15 billion every year due to the wage gap.
  • Native American, Black, and Latinx women in Connecticut earn 62 cents, 58 cents, and 49 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by a white man. While Asian and White women earn more (81 cents and 80 cents, respectively) than any other male/female race/ethnicity, women in CT as a whole are still paid much less than their male counterparts in every single category.

The Outcome

The panel discussion was well attended by students, faculty, activists, and interested members of the community. The conclusion of the panel was that much needs to be done to eliminate this gap. The forum allowed legislators, non-profit leaders, activists, and policy experts to connect and find ways to collaborate in the fight against gender pay inequity. CPPSR formed and is pursuing a plan to collaborate with the executive and legislative branches of Connecticut’s state government, as well as non-profit organizations in a determined effort to achieve gender pay parity in the pursuit of ending pay inequity in Connecticut. In fact, the gender gap harms state and national GDP. Here are some amazing examples of what the cost of the gender pay inequities is: 

If the annual wage gap were eliminated, on average, a working woman in Connecticut would have enough money for:

  • More than 11 additional months of child care,
  • Nearly one additional year of tuition and fees for a four-year public university, or the full cost of tuition and fees at a two-year community college,
  • Approximately 82 more weeks of food for her family (1.6 years’ worth),
  • More than five additional months of mortgage and utility payments,
  • Nearly 10 more months of rent.