The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Perrone, (202) 675-2312

Lilly Ledbetter to Address DNC on Women's Equality Day


Pay equity pioneer Lilly Ledbetter, whose landmark Supreme Court case Ledbetter v. Goodyear ignited a firestorm of debate over the need for stronger protections against wage discrimination, will address the 2008 Democratic National Convention on Women's Equality Day - Tuesday, August 26.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"This week is marked by highs and lows for American women. On August 26, 1920, 'Women's Equality Day,' the 19th Amendment was certified and forever changed the face of American politics. Eighty-eight years later, pay equity pioneer Lilly Ledbetter will address a national party convention chaired by the first woman Speaker of the House and co-chaired by three more remarkable women.

"It is amazing to consider how far we've come. But it's equally amazing to consider how far we still have to go. In the same year we saw momentous strides made by women in the political arena, the Supreme Court rolled back decades of progress in the workplace. Lilly Ledbetter learned, after years of employment at Goodyear Tire, that she was unfairly being paid less than her male counterparts, and turned to the courts for help. Even though a jury of her peers found that she had been unfairly paid at work, in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, the Supreme Court took it all away and restricted the ability of victims to seek compensation for wage discrimination, shielding unscrupulous employers who are able to keep unfair pay practices under wraps.

"Lilly Ledbetter's story reminds us that, even in this auspicious year for women in America, we still have plenty of work before us. Last year, the House of Representatives passed legislation, the 'Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007,' aimed at ensuring employers don't profit from years of discrimination simply because their employees were unaware of it. The bill addresses wage disparity based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability, and clarifies that such discrimination is not a one-time occurrence, but rather, that each discriminatory paycheck an employer issues represents an ongoing violation of the law.

"The ACLU strongly supports this commonsense solution, and we are urging the Senate to follow the House's lead. The type of systemic discrimination experienced by Lilly Ledbetter and countless others is inconsistent with core American values of fairness and equality. On this day, we are reminded that we must continue the fight for equality in all spheres of American life."

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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