The Weissman Center's 2012-2013 lecture series, Women at the Helm: What is Our Obligation?, continues with a presentation and panel discussion, "Lilly Ledbetter and Her Fight for Equal Pay."
Lilly Ledbetter will share her personal story of grit and determination for equal pay, followed by a discussion by a panel of scholars, advocates, and legal advisors at the forefront in passing the groundbreaking Fair Pay Act and in fighting for gender equality. Panelists include Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center; Judith Lichtman, senior advisor and former president of the National Partnership for Women and Families; and Mariko Chang, a scholar on woman of color, the wealth gap, and occupational segregation. The panel will be moderated by Judith Lonnquist '62, employment and civil rights attorney, and founder of the Northwest Women's Law Center.
Lilly Ledbetter worked as a supervisor at a Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Alabama for 19 years. She worked tirelessly and was often praised by Goodyear for her fine work. Towards the end of her career, Ledbetter began to suspect that she wasn’t getting paid as much as her male counterparts. An anonymous note left in her mailbox confirmed Ledbetter’s suspicions. Intent on facing the discrimination, she brought an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Complaint (EOCC) against Goodyear, and won. The jury agreed that Goodyear had violated the law and awarded her what she was owed. According to Ledbetter, “I hoped the verdict would make my company feel the sting, learn a lesson and never again treat women unfairly.”
But Goodyear appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court and in a 5-4 decision, the Court sided with big business. Their reasoning? Ledbetter should have filed her claim within six months of Goodyear’s first decision to pay her less. After the decision, legal groups and politicians took action and worked to introduce a bill. And on January 29, 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law to make it easier for women who have experienced pay discrimination to fight back.
Free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by the MHC 175th Anniversary committee and the MHC President's Office.