(Interview of Lilly Ledbetter following the Senate passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: from the National Womens Law Center, http://www.nwlc.org/)
The Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act yesturday with a vote of 61 to 36. This will be the first piece of legislation Congress sends to newly elected President Obama for his approval. It's a fitting first bill for the President, who incorporated Ms. Ledbetter's story into his campaign ads and entered DC on his inaugural whistlestop tour in the company of Ms. Ledbetter herself.
So what does it all mean? Will the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act close the wage gap once and for all? Not quite. This is an important step towards pay equity, a step which will allow women to fight back against unfair wages by making each unfair paycheck count as a new act of discrimination. Now, no matter when a woman finds out that she’s been discriminated against, she can still take action. But there is still more to be done to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal labor.
One of the next steps for pay equity may be the Paycheck Fairness Act. This companion piece to the Fair Pay Act was passed by the House but so far has not made it to the Senate. According to Ledbetter "One bill fixes a past mistake, and the other makes sure that such a mistake won't happen again." 46 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), women are still earning 78 cents to a man's dollar. The Fair Pay Act would update the EPA and close the loopholes that have hindered its success.
[The Paycheck Fairness Act is Essential to Combatting Pay Discrimination Against Women in the Workplace] National Partnership for Women and Families
[The Fair Pay Campaign] NWLC
[From the Desk of Lilly Ledbetter] AAUW