Mayor Adams investing $40 million to give NYC women a greater leg-up as disparities persist

NEW YORK — New York City will invest $40 million as part of a comprehensive effort to address gender inequities across the five boroughs, building on existing initiatives rolled out in the last year, Mayor Adams announced Thursday.

Adams, flanked by his all-women deputy mayors and other senior female staffers, said the effort — Women Forward NYC — will roll out 42 programs aimed at greater access to health care, professional development and stable housing for women.

“I think it’s going to cascade throughout our entire nation and throughout the entire globe,” Adams said of the initiative. “It’s going to start here in New York City.”

Adams briefly touched on this effort in his State of the City address on Wednesday, offering some contours of the plan that will also include a partnership with the Girls Scouts of America in providing $10 for girls living in shelters so they can open a bank account.

The funds come from a mix of corporate donors, taxpayer dollars and federal grants, according to the Adams administration.

The Adams administration’s efforts are backed by statistics. According to New York state comptroller’s office, women are paid 86 cents for every $1 a man makes in the state. The mortality rate for Black women during childbirth is the highest of any other demographic, according to a 2023 report by the city health department. The work is an extension of a women’s agenda Adams rolled out during his 2023 State of the City address, in which he convened experts in March of last year to craft a plan that supports women.

“This is a clarion call,” Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria-Torres Springer said.

“Under no illusion that 40 initiatives, $40 million will reduce all of those gaps. But if we’re to make a dent in that pay gap, in that statistic about the incidents of maternal mortality in Black women, we have to make a strong down payment and a comprehensive plan.”

Along with his women’s agenda, Mayor Adams’ State of the City address included a greater emphasis on quality-of-life complaints, a plan to create more jobs and a push to close illegal weed shops that requires assistance from Albany.

Other new policy proposals include a plan to create a Tenant Protection Cabinet tasked with guarding against hostile landlords, a push to build about 12,000 units of affordable housing on city land, the creation and refurbishment of several local skate parks and a directive designating social media as a public health crisis.