National Partnership for Women & Families

President Obama Ushers in a New Era in which Equal Opportunity Is Real & Anti-Discrimination Laws Matter, Women's Leader Say

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — January 29, 2009 —
“In making the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the first bill he signs into law, President Barack Obama today signals an end to the days when we had to revisit and defend women’s and civil rights victories of the past, and can instead focus on creating jobs, promoting fairness, and ending discrimination in our workplaces. 

The harmful U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear will now become an ugly footnote in our history books, and a memory of a painful time when our highest court failed to uphold workers’ fundamental rights and lawmakers failed to right a terrible wrong. 

The bill President Obama is signing today is a modest and targeted response to a ruling that made it just about impossible for victims of pay discrimination to seek justice in the courts, no matter how severe the discrimination they faced.

We now enter a new era in which equal opportunity is real and anti-discrimination laws matter.  In this struggling economy, workers need protection from discrimination more than ever.  Equal pay for equal work is among one of our country’s most fundamental values.  We applaud President Obama for taking this essential step for fair pay in America.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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