Rep. Terri A. Sewell Recognizes the Third Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
Washington DC – Today, Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) recognizes the third anniversary of the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a critical law championing the fundamental principle of equal pay for women and all American workers.
In January 2009, the President signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, which restored the right of women and other workers to challenge unfair pay in court. With women making up nearly half of the labor force and mothers increasingly serving as the primary breadwinners for American families, the wage gap not only hurts families, but adversely affects small businesses and communities.
“Today we celebrate the sacrifice and hard work of Alabama’s own Lilly Ledbetter, a humble activist, for courageously fighting to ensure that our daughters and granddaughters are equally paid for the work they do regardless of race, age or gender,” said Rep. Sewell.
“The protections enacted by the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will strengthen American families— because equal pay for equal work is not simply an issue for women; it’s a family issue,” said Rep. Sewell. “However, we must not forget that the journey to securing equality for our nation’s women is far from over. We must act now to build on Lilly Ledbetter’s work, fight discrimination anywhere it exists and put an end to this and all injustices in America.”
According to the National Women’s Law Center and 2007 data from the Census Bureau, women earn an average of 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. This is up from when the Equal Pay Act was first enacted and women earned 59 cents for every dollar paid to men, but it still falls far short of wage equality. The wage disparity is even more pronounced for the country’s minority women when compared to white males: African American women earned 62 cents for every dollar earned by white males and Hispanic women earned 53 cents per dollar.
“In this difficult economy, when so many Americans are already working harder for less and struggling to get by to pay their mortgage, pay for their medications or to simply put food on the table for their children, the last thing they can afford is losing part of their paycheck to blatant discrimination,” Rep. Sewell added. “We must continue to do more to level the playing field and restore fundamental fairness to all American workers.”
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