Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras released a proposal Tuesday to try to ensure women receive the same pay for their work as men.
Taveras spoke at Craftland, a woman-owned business on Westminster Street in downtown Providence, to highlight disparities in pay for women and men. He says if elected governor, he’ll appoint more women to office, examine the equity of pay for state workers, and impose stiffer penalties for violations of Rhode Island’s pay equity laws. Taveras says paying women and men the same for the same work is the right thing to do.
"It’s important because it’s a building block of economic development and because it also helps to level the playing field," he says, "and we know if we want to want to retain and attract the highest quality workforce, we have to make sure that women are paid equally."
Women make up a little more than half of voters, so they’re an important part of the electorate in the three-way Democratic race for governor. Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell are the other two Democrats vying for governor.
Taveras says it’s important to take action because the state’s wage equity law is more than 50 years old. He says that according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time male workers in Rhode Island earn a median weekly wage of $919, compared to $746 for women.
The Providence mayor says women represent 52 percent of the 141 appointments to boards and commissions made by his administration. Taveras was joined for his news conference by several female business owners.
In related news, Raimondo announced she’s won the endorsement of Smithfield Town Councilwoman Suzy Alba. Raimondo’s campaign says Alba is the sixth Latino elected official to back her candidacy.