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October 24 2012

Equal Pay Was Law Long Before Ledbetter

Carrie L. Lukas

Victoria Toensing provides a much-needed review of the history of Lilly Ledbetter’s—the woman whose name was used for the first and much celebrated law signed by this President—legal case against her employer, in today’s Wall Street Journal.  It turns out that Ledbetter had other opportunities to seek redress against her employer, and that her case itself is testimony to the need for reasonable statutes of limitation for bringing a suit, since her boss who is alleged to have perpetrated the discrimination and harassment died before the case went trial.

 All of this makes shows that the President’s claim that somehow the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an enormous advancement in the cause of equal pay for women is a real stretch.  As Toensing writes:

President Obama makes much of his concern for women's rights, particularly regarding equal pay, but he seems not to be aware that for nearly half a century we have enjoyed the protection of two laws requiring equal pay. The 1963 Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act combined to settle the matter in law.

Mr. Obama brags that the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act bestowed equal-pay rights for women. The act, he has said, "is a big step toward making sure every worker," male and female, "receives equal pay for equal work." No, it was a teensy step. It merely changed how the statute of limitations is calculated.

IWF provides this fact sheet about the actual impact of the Ledbetter Act, and more on why the whole concept of the existence of a pernicious “wage gap” between men and women rests of misleading statistics.  Let’s hope the media reads this before their next report on the Democrat’s “War on Women” charge.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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