A picture of Representative Janice D. Schakowsky
Janice S.
Democrat IL 9

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  • Honoring the 4Th Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    by Representative Janice D. Schakowsky

    Posted on 2013-02-06

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    SCHAKOWSKY of illinois in the house of representatives Wednesday, February 6, 2013 Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the progress we've made in ensuring equal pay for equal work, and the 4th year anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Lilly Ledbetter performed equal work but received less pay than her male colleagues at Goodyear. Despite experiencing pay discrimination over the course of her career, Ledbetter was barred by the Supreme Court from challenging her discriminatory pay because she did not pursue legal action soon enough.

    Fortunately, this is no longer the case. On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. This law restored an employee's right to challenge pay discrimination. Women today have the right to pursue legal action for pay discrimination whenever it occurs.

    Despite this victory, challenges still remain for women receiving equal pay for equal work as evidenced by the pay gap that still exists. Today, women are paid only 77 cents to every dollar made by men. And for women of color, that number falls even lower. African American women receive 68 cents and Hispanic women 59 cents to every dollar earned by men. This pay disparity not only affects women during their careers, but follows them into retirement as they receive lower pensions and Social Security benefits based on receiving lower wages than they deserved.

    Although today we take a moment to celebrate the restoration of the right to challenge pay discrimination, now more than ever, we must strengthen our resolve to ensure equal pay for equal work. Eliminating pay discrimination not only benefits women--it benefits families. In most American households today, women are either the sole breadwinner or essential co-breadwinner. Those families rely on women's income to meet the daily needs of the family--including groceries, rent, and medical care. As we celebrate the 4th anniversary of this important law, we must commit to passing the Paycheck Fairness Act now to take another major step in ensuring equal pay for equal work.


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