National Partnership for Women & Families

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Sharyn Tejani, Senior Policy Counsel

From the desk of ... Sharyn Tejani

Celebrating Ledbetter: End Pay Discrimination Against Women Now!

January 25, 2010 | Workplace Fairness

This week we celebrate the one-year anniversary of enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: a law that righted a terrible Supreme Court decision and set the stage for the next fair pay law we need -- the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Lilly Ledbetter's story is an inspiration. Almost 20 years after starting work as one of just a few women at a tire plant, she received an anonymous note letting her know that she was being paid less than her male coworkers -- even those who had worked there less time than she had. She sued and a jury ruled in her favor, but the Supreme Court reversed the ruling. Lilly continued fighting and she won where it matters most -- in the court of public opinion and with Congress. Read more about the case and the law here.

But even after Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and President Obama made it the first bill he signed into law, wage discrimination persists. Women still are paid just 77 cents to a man's dollar and the inequities remain, even when education and type of job are factored out. For some alarming statistics on the extent of the wage gap, click here. So, as Lilly Ledbetter said on the day that her bill was signed, now we need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The Paycheck Fairness Act will help stop wage discrimination in four important ways:

  1. Making it harder for employers to justify wage discrimination;
  2. Prohibiting retaliation against workers who ask about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages;
  3. Authorizing the government to collect wage data so civil rights enforcement agencies can target their resources; nad
  4. Offering employers technical assistance to help them analyze their pay data and make sure they are not discriminating.

Learn more about the Paycheck Fairness Act here.

The House of Representatives has already passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, and it has 35 cosponsors in the Senate. Click here to let Senators know that you support equal wages for women and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Let's honor Lilly Ledbetter and give ourselves something else to celebrate. Take action today!


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