By Lilly Ledbetter and Lisa Maatz
A Note from Deputy Director Rachel Laser: On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed the first substantive piece of legislation of his presidency- the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. As the National Women’s Law Center explains, the Act restores longstanding law and helps to ensure that individuals subjected to unlawful pay discrimination are able to effectively assert their rights under the federal anti-discrimination laws. Under the Act, each discriminatory paycheck (rather than simply the original decision to discriminate) resets the 180-day limit to file a claim.This landmark legislation is a huge step forward for paycheck fairness and women’s equality.
Five years to the day, we are thrilled that Lilly Ledbetter herself and Lisa Maatz, Vice President for Government Relations at the American Association of University Women, have co-written our launch-day blog! Their reflections and policy goals are the perfect kick off to “Double Booked: A Conversation about 21st Century Working Families.”
When the Supreme Court decided in 2007 that Lilly Ledbetter’s employer had paid her unfairly long enough to make it legal, that could have been the end of Lilly’s fight for fair pay. But Lilly is still fighting almost seven years later because the battle was never about her alone. Pay inequity keeps American families from making ends meet, and together we will fight until equal work is compensated with equal pay.
Lilly started work at Goodyear in 1979 with one child in college and another about to head that way. She persevered through daily harassment at Goodyear because she wanted both of her children to earn a college education and because they had household expenses that her husband’s paycheck didn’t cover. She planned to work at Goodyear until she retired so that she could secure full medical coverage for her and her husband.