State Assembly Republicans plan to spend the next month holding discussions on how to improve job opportunities for women, Assemblywoman Carol Casagrande (R-Freehold) and Minority Leader Jon M. Bramnick (R-Westfield) announced today.
Casagrande said the effort is designed to encourage businesses to make changes that promote opportunities for women, and could lead to her introducing legislation combating discrimination.
“New Jersey is already a good place for women to work, but we want it to be the best,” Casagrande said.
She pointed to statistics that women’s participation shrinks at each level of promotion, from comprising 53 percent of entry-level workers to 19 percent of the highest-level corporate officials. In addition, the wage gap between women and men grows as workers enter their peak earning years.
Casagrande is planning to hold three public discussion panels: on May 30 at Monmouth University, headlined by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno; on June 5 in Atlantic City; and on June 13 in Morris County. Details of the events have not been finalized.
The topics will include what steps businesses can take to keep women in the work force, including how to address the challenges presented by motherhood.
“We’re hoping that everyone embraces these principles,” Casagrande said.
She said the participants “are going to make the business case to New Jersey companies” that promoting women is good for their bottom line.
Casagrande said while she supported some of the bills that have been introduced by Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt (D-Voorhees) that are intended to reduce pay discrimination, she added that portions of the four-bill package would duplicate federal law.
“I don’t think it’s the kind of cultural change we’re going to need,” Casagrande said of the bills’ potential effect.
The bills would require employers to notify workers about their right to be free of gender bias in pay; bar employers from punishing workers for sharing pay information with others; make public contractors file information with the state about their employees’ pay; and allow pay discrimination claims to be based on ongoing differences, rather than on the initial biased decision, which may have expired under the statute of limitations. Business employment lawyers have said the bills place an unnecessary burden on businesses.