Women's coalitions held news conference all across New York State Thursday urging support for Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act.
Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo launched the ambitious 10-point act. It calls for breaking down barriers that cause inequality based on gender, strengthening order of protection laws for victims of domestic violence, and promoting equal pay for equal work, among other issues.
Heather Filipowicz, executive director of the WNY Women's Foundation in Buffalo, says the equality act would improve protection for victims of domestic violence.
"This agenda would allow them to testify behind closed doors on video instead of having to see the perpetrator in person in court. So there are protections and pieces of legislation in this agenda for women that keep us safer," Filipowicz says.
Filipowicz says she is also fighting for equal pay for equal work, where a large disparity still exists.
"If a woman were to make, dollar for dollar, what a man makes across America, it would increase the economy and the GDP by nine percent," she says. "Women are the primary breadwinners for almost half of New York families, but there is 15 percent lower pay for the same work as a man."
Other items proposed in the equality act include strengthening human trafficking laws and ending sexual harassment in the workplace.