This morning, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act bill, ensuring that women across the country receive equal pay for equal work.
It is the first bill President Obama has signed since being in office just over one week. Today, he met with the woman whom the bill is named after.
Lilly Ledbetter, 70, worked for nearly two decades at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Gadsden, Alabama. She received an anonymous tip that she was earning less than her male colleagues. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and eventually received more than $300,000 in punitive damages.
With Mrs. Michelle Obama by his side, the President said in a briefing today that signing this bill will affect more than just women, but families as well.
“Lilly knows 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.
“So in signing this bill today, I intend to send a clear message: That making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone. That there are no second-class citizens in our workplaces, and that it’s not just unfair and illegal—but bad for business— to pay someone less because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability. And that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory, or footnote in a casebook—it’s about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives: their ability to make a living and care for their families and achieve their goals,” said Mr. Obama.