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Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Lily Ledbetter (not bedwetter) Fair Pay Act

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and top Democrats just introduced the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which remedies impending fallout from a recent Supreme Court Ruling against Lily Ledbetter, who sued for gender discrimination in pay. According to the AFLCIO blog,

When Ledbetter retired in 1999 after nearly 20 years as a supervisor, she was making $44,724 a year. But as she told a House committee June 13, the lowest-paid male in the same job was earning $51,432 a year, while the highest paid man doing the same work was earning $62,832. She told the committee she had long suspected she was being paid less than the men in the same job, but until she received two anonymous packages showing the differing pay rates, she had no hard evidence of the pay discrimination.

These are words from the Rep. George Miller, who introduced the Fair Pay bill: "The Supreme Court told employers that they could escape responsibility by hiding their decision to discriminate and run out the clock."

Miller is the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. If you care about equal pay for women, you can help by making a very easy call, even if you don't know the name or contact info of your representative.

The AFL-CIO set up a toll-free phone number just for people to call in support of the Fair Pay Act:

(866) 338-1015

This number will work through Wednesday, which is the day of the vote. Thanks for helping out!

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posted by Jemila Kwon at 12:39 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 4/24/2008 12:46:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I'm fascinated by how the main objection to this is "it will hinder business by causing too many lawsuits." While the main support is "it's about being fair." One group has business and profit as their central focus and the other has people.

  • At 4/24/2008 02:31:00 PM, Blogger Sensuous Wife

    Just called my senator to throw my support behind it. As a woman who's been in the career workforce for going on 20 years, I'm all for equal pay for equal work.

  • At 4/24/2008 04:24:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    Thanks SW, I am glad to hear you called. By the way, what do you do in the working world, and how do you feel you've been treated as a professional/woman? Have you felt equally treated, both financially and personally?

    Julie -- yeah.

  • At 4/25/2008 01:52:00 PM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    So how did the vote turn out?

    And how else can we get behind this?

    I have a daughter...I want it fixed!

  • At 4/25/2008 06:52:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    From www.newser.com:

    "Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama interrupted their rival campaigns yesterday to vote together on a bill that would make it easier for women to sue employers for pay discrimination. But their moment of unity proved fruitless as Senate Republicans blocked the bill, likely killing it for the rest of the year, reports Reuters."

  • At 4/26/2008 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    Bah. that just means working harder next year.

  • At 4/28/2008 02:54:00 PM, Blogger Sensuous Wife

    Hi Jemila,
    I currently work in sales/management in the hospitality Industry.
    Have I been treated fairly, personally and financially?

    Hmmm... In my entire career, I've only had a couple of truly wretched bosses and like most bullies, they picked on someone with less power than they had. It was early in my career when this happened.

    Financially, I don't know if I've ever been paid less because I'm a woman. If it happened, I never knew. There was a company with a huge bias against working moms and I saw that culture early on in the interview process and withdrew my application. My bill rate is as high or higher than the men I know.
    Over the last several years, I feel I am treated very fairly regarding race and gender. In fact, it's an interesting dynamic to describe. I've experienced a lot of healing and growth in my personal life and it's affected me professionally in ways that surprised me.

    The more confident I feel personally as a woman, and professionally with a senior level of experience and expertise, I find men coworkers and clients are very comfortable around a womanly woman and the men are also not intimidated by my professional expertise. I am treated with more deference and kindness and respect from male coworkers and clients now then ever before. Part of this is being married to a man and raising a young man has given me a high level of comfort and familiarity with the male POV. I was surprised to find that in the last 5-10 years, I've experienced much more hidden agenda professional sabotage and undermining from women coworkers and clients. In fact, I cannot think of any male coworkers that have mistreated me in the last 5 years. My experience has been that a beautiful smart capable career woman can be perceived as a threat by some women.

  • At 4/28/2008 05:13:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    SW -- thank for sharing, it wonderful to have your perspective. I admire you for your confidence is yourself as a woman and as a professional!

    I would concur that my personal experience has been that I have felt more undermined by women than men, overall. This is been true in terms of women who do not want other women in leadership over men, as well as outside church contexts.

    I also have to admit that at times I have been the one has has felt threatened or in some way jealous of a beautiful, successful woman. I think part of this because we have often been betrayed by men, subtly or blatantly who wanted the *other* woman, often at work who was confident and sexy. It can feel good to feel the high that comes from mild opposite-sex tension/affirmation when you are the confident, sexy woman, but not if you are the one left behind at home or if you are the one who is wondering if she's still "all that." Perhaps a topic for another post is, "How can we get over our fear and cattiness and really be loving sisters?

  • At 4/28/2008 05:53:00 PM, Blogger Sensuous Wife

    I love your heart.
    You have such a generosity of spirit to admit you have at times felt jealous or threatened of a beautiful successful woman. And you are right, the question to ask is how can we get over our cattiness and really be loving sisters.

    This is a topic so very close to my heart. I never dreamed that I'd get to be the beautiful smart confident woman. And the cattiness and how that wound of feeling left behind plays out in our behavior.

    A very wise generous-hearted woman named Leigh Barkalow helped me with this issue. To understand the wounds and how to let Jesus heal them. She gave a talk on Fallen Eve and the different ways Fallen Eve acts out in behavior. The CD is 60 minutes long and it took me more than a week to listen to it because I kept having to stop and repent. It will take me some time, but I can go back and listen and get the 5 main bullet points and then share how my heart responded to that when I listened 3 or 4 years ago. I'll write an article and post it in the next few days. I'd really like it if you and I can work together on a discussion on that article The Cattiness of Fallen Eve—We've All Been There. I'd love to continue the conversation. I think there's a lot of healing in it for both of us. For all of us.

    PS this conversation and the way you shared your heart are really important to me.

  • At 6/06/2008 08:25:00 AM, Anonymous Martin

    Good Job! :)

  • At 11/21/2009 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Some Dude

    This is a pretty old story, but anyway, let me give my unsolicited opinion on this...

    Ms. Ledbetter worked at her place of employment of her own free will. Nobody forced her to work there. She and her employer freely entered into an employement agreement. If she was dissatisfied with her pay, then she was absolutely NOT without options. She could have asked for a raise. She could have looked for another employer who would offer her a "fair" wage. She could have started her own company which offers a "fair" wage to her employees, whatever that means.

    Actions speak louder than words. She could have quit her job. Yet, she decided to stay there for 20 years. This tells me that she was satisfied with her employement situation all along and now wants to complain about it after the fact to make a quick buck.

    It is absolutely ludicrous to say that her employment situation (which she agreed to voluntarily, by the way) is unfair. If two people voluntarily make an agreement, then what right does anyone else have to say that the agreement is unfair?


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