Skip to main content

Add your voice to the comments

Laws are nice, but they don't always work. The Fair Pay Act is a prime example.

In 1963, Congress passed the Fair Pay Act, a gesture seemingly ahead of its time. From that moment forward, women and men would get paid the same for equal work.

Today, 45 years later, I'm still waiting.

I know I got paid less than the guys when I was a broadcast journalist because one person who hired me told me that since I was married, I didn't need as much as the guys -- who were single, by the way. In other jobs, information slipped when paychecks got distributed.

I started out getting paid the same at my first law job because all newbies at big firms got the same, but after that first year, the my male counterparts were getting bigger raises and bonuses. I know they didn't work more hours than I did, and I know my work was good, but my golf game was non-existent back then.

Sure, things have changed since the 1980s when I sported my "59 Cents" button -- the amount of money the average woman made for every dollar made by a man. Today, that's 77 cents, but that still sucks.

Sorry, I didn't know how else convey the full nature of my frustration.

Today, for an anniversary gift for all working women, take a moment to contact your lawmakers about enacting the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Remember Lily?

Lilly Ledbetter sued her employer, Goodyear, claiming that she had been discriminated against for 19 years because she had been paid significantly less than other male employees who were less experienced and less senior than her. The trial court initially agreed, and awarded her $3.8 million.

The upshot after years of legal wrangling was the decision today that Ledbetter was too late in suing and that if employees were allowed to sue under these circumstances that employers would find it too difficult to defend such claims "arising from employment decisions that are long past."

There's something else you can do besides make that call or sending an E-mail to Washington, D.C. Keep fair pay in mind when you're deciding between Barack Obama and John McCain in November.

McCain doesn't think there's a pay discrimination problem -- hew says all we girls need is a little extra training and we'll catch up! I feel so much better now. I didn't realize that my eight years of college and law school weren't enough to get equal pay! I'll go sign up for that extra class now -- the one where I learn the secret of convincing employers to stop breaking the law that already exists.

We shouldn't need a new law that allows us to sue under Ledbetter's circumstances, because someone ought to be enforcing the one that's already been around for almost as long as I've been alive.

Pay me the same as the guys or I'll send Kathy Griffin after you!

Joanne is the creator of PunditMom, her personal blog about the intersection of politics and motherhood. She is also a Contributing Editor for Politics & News at BlogHer and a contributor to MOMocrats and The Huffington Post.

MomsRising.org strongly encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We value diversity of opinions and perspectives. Our goals for this space are to be educational, thought-provoking, and respectful. So we actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that undermine these goals. Thanks!