By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday U.S. Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D) from Selma released a written statement in recognition of the fourth anniversary of the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Rep. Sewell said, “Today we celebrate the tireless efforts of Alabama’s own Lilly Ledbetter, a humble activist who has boldly fought to ensure that our mothers, daughters and granddaughters are equally paid for the work they do regardless of race, age or gender. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill signed into law by President Obama in January of 2009, was critical to restoring the rights of women and other workers so they could fight discrimination and go to court to get equal pay for equal work.”
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it much easier to litigate cases of alleged employment discrimination, is named for Lilly Ledbetter. Mrs. Ledbetter alleges that she made less money than male colleagues at the Goodyear tire factory in Gadsden, AL despite performing the same work. Ledbetter’s claim was ultimately rejected by the courts because she did not bring her lawsuit to court in a timely manner. Ledbetter claims that she could not have sued decades earlier because she did not know at the time that many of her male counterparts had received higher performance raises than she had received.
Rep. Sewell continued, “While great strides have been made in gender equality, we still have much work to do. Women still earn on average just 77 cents for every dollar men make. The wage disparity is even more pronounced for minority women as African American women earn just 64 cents every dollar earned by white males and Hispanic women earn just 55 cents per dollar.”
Congresswoman Sewell concluded, “We must continue to fight discrimination anywhere it exists and to do more to level the playing field so all Americans can provide for their families. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the administration as we continue to build on Lilly Ledbetter’s work with the Paycheck Fairness Act and break through the glass ceiling.”
Congresswoman Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District. Rep. Sewell is the highest elected officeholder in the state who is still a member of the Democratic Party. This is her second term in the Congress.