Women’s Equality Act Is NY State’s Legislative Ninja

Andrew CuomoThings just got a lot better for the working women of New York State—and most of them don’t even know it.With little fuss and controversy, the New York State Legislature recently passed nine of the ten measures in the Women’s Equality Act. The news laws strengthen preexisting equal pay laws, provide protection against pregnancy and motherhood discrimination in the workplace, and extend prohibition of sexual harassment to workplaces with fewer than four employees.(To be fair, it’s pretty astounding that sexual harassment had been legal in very small organizations up until now—but hey, at least they closed that loophole.)The Women’s Equality Act ran into some legislative trouble last year because of its tenth provision, which would have protected a woman’s right to an abortion late in her pregnancy if it jeopardized her health. When that proposal proved a non-starter in the state’s Republican-dominated Senate, it was split off into a separate bill to ease the passage of the package’s nine remaining measures. One has already been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the other eight are awaiting his signature.Despite the impact the Women’s Equality Act could have on New York women, it’s received relatively little media coverage. The Cut called it “a significant advance for gender equality in the state, and, strangely, one that no one seems to be talking about.”That’s where we come in—and you can help! Tweet the news, share it on Facebook with your friends, and tell the legislatures of other states to take notes. New York’s got the right idea.