Equal Pay

Michelle Obama blogs about equal pay and Lilly Ledbetter. Lilly worked at Goodyear for 20 years and was a plant supervisor. Someone sent her an anonymous letter with all the salaries of her male counterparts, all of whom were making way more than she did. She took the company to court. The Supreme Court ruled that, according to the law, Lilly only had 180 days to complain about the discrimination. So because the company had hid the truth for 20 years, she missed her chance. Now legislators are trying to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

“But this April, Republicans in the Senate blocked it. Now, Democrats in the Senate are working to bring Lilly’s bill back for another vote this fall. My husband is a proud supporter of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Senator McCain does not support it. In fact, Senator McCain said that what women really need is more education and training. But Lilly Ledbetter had plenty of training. What she doesn’t have is the right to fight for the pay she deserves.”

My Grandma worked in a tire plant for years and years. I wonder how much money she lost to discrimination. But I suppose she deserved it, on account of not having enough education and training, right?


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  1. I heart Michelle! Female lawyers still earn less than they’re male counterparts, so I’m sure that this is an issue that she feels strongly about.

  2. Compensation figures for his legislative staff reveal that Obama pays women just 83 cents for every dollar his men make.

  3. Actually that “fact” was debunked in the comments at the site I linked to. It doesn’t actually compare people doing the same jobs. When you look within the same job titles, Obama’s women earn the same (or in a few cases, more) than men doing the same thing. McCain has a couple women high up, so their salaries disproportionately affect his average. But an “average” is a really bad way of comparing these things. I don’t care if some female executive makes way more than I do. I care if a guy doing the EXACT SAME JOB does. See the point?

  4. Among McCain’s top-five best-compensated staffers, three are women. Of his 20-highest-salaried employees, 13 are women. Among Obama’s five best-paid advisors, only one was a woman. Among his top 20, seven were women. I think this best explains the “average wage” disparity.

  5. Quite possibly. But again, all I think an average wage shows you is whether there are any women at the upper levels. (Which, granted, is important too.) But it’s not really relevant in a discussion of equal pay. I mean, you could have a single female employee, pay her more than the male average, and Voila! Your “women” make more than the men. Doesn’t prove anything.

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