Equal Pay for Women Workers

January 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Women workers have a new weapon today in the fight for equal pay, thanks to the first bill to become law by President Obama's signature.It was Barack Obama's first bill signing as the 44th President of the United States. But the person of the hour was the woman whose name is on the new law.

"It is fitting that with the very first bill I sign, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, we are upholding one of this nation's first principles: that we are all created equal and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness," said President Obama.

70-year-old Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at a Good Year Tire plant in South Carolina who was tipped off that she was not making the same as men doing the same job.

She won in a lower court, but appeals took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007, where she lost.

"I was initially humiliated, I felt degraded," said Ledbetter.

Before today, women could only file discrimination suits within six months of first experiencing a pay gap. The new legislation allows suits years later, as long as the alleged pay discrimination is continuing.

It's an issue close to Michelle Obama, who has pledged to use her position as first lady to promote issues related to working women.

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