Activist says the fight continues for equal pay for women

Feb 28, 2013

When President Barack Obama named the first legislation he signed into law after Lilly Ledbetter, not everyone knew her name. But, the woman who has fought for years for equal pay for women says her cause is something that affects everyone.

Nineteen years after she started working in management at Goodyear, Lilly Ledbetter discovered she was making less than her male counterparts. She sued, taking her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but ultimately losing because the law said needed to sue within six months of receiving her first unequal paycheck. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act allows more leeway in when such a lawsuit can be filed.

Four years after that law was signed, Ledbetter says it was a great honor, but that the fight for equal pay for women continues. The activist travels the United States speaking about the cause she is passionate about. She is scheduled to tell her storyThursday night at SUNY Oswego.

"This is a civil right, it's fundamental american right, that each one of us are paid what we are legally earning under the law and entitled to," said Ledbetter.

The activist says she encourages college students -- particularly young women -- to know the rights and laws effecting the workplace before they start their first job.

"Research their prospective employers, know the laws, the basic laws -- wage an hour, equal pay laws -- know laws that pertain to them. Because that will help them to protect themselves," she said.

Ledbetter is currently among those encouraging Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which intends to help close the pay gap between men and women.