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WATCH: President Obama and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

On January 27, President Obama signed his first bill into law: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, an anti-discrimination law that will make it easier for workers to sue their employers over inequities in pay based on gender, race, or age discrimination. This is another encouraging sign that Obama plans to end the Bush administration’s wars on women and labor.

President Obama: Lilly Ledbetter did not set out to be a trailblazer or a household name. She was just a good hard worker who did her job—and she did it well—for nearly two decades before discovering that for years she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work. Over the course of her career she lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and social security benefits—losses that she still feels today.

Now, Lilly could have accepted her lot and moved on. She could have decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle and the harassment that would inevitably come for speaking up for what she deserved. But instead, she decided that there was a principle at stake. Something worth fighting for. So she set out on a journey that would take more than ten years, take her all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, and lead to this day and this bill, which will help others get the justice that she was denied.

Because while this bill bears her name, Lilly knows that this story isn’t just about her. It’s the story of women across this country still earning just 78 cents for every dollar men earn. Women of color, even less. Which means that today, in the year 2009, countless women are still losing thousands of dollars in salary, income, and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime.

Related post: Equal Pay For Equal Work: The Moment For Women Is Now by Madeleine Kunin.

Photo courtesy of the Center for American Progress at AmericanProgress.org.


Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..

Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. “Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its […] Read More..

Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives? In What We Think About When […] Read More..