What happens when women negotiate for themselves

One reason behind the gender pay gap is that women are reluctant to negotiate for themselves. Why? Because they know that people react negatively to it.

Lilly Ledbetter coming to Akron March 10

Lilly Ledbetter and Pres. Barack Obama

Lilly Ledbetter, a tireless advocate for pay equity for women, will speak in Akron on March 10, 2010, as part of Women’s History Month activities sponsored by the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Akron.

Her speech will begin at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre on the UA campus.

Ledbetter worked for Goodyear Tire, a company based in Akron, for 19 years, when she learned she had been paid less than her male colleagues. She sued Goodyear and won, but the ruling was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last January, Congress approved the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which expands workers’ rights to sue in cases like Lilly’s by relaxing the statute of limitations. It was the first bill signed by President Barack Obama.

AAUW played a key role in the bill’s passage. And AAUW leadership had a front row seat at the bill signing. In turn, Lilly spoke at AAUW’s 2009 National Convention with its theme “Breaking Through Barriers.”

Read more about Lilly’s inspiring struggle for equal pay for women. Watch a YouTube video. Then mark your calendars for her appearance in Akron.

For more information, call 330-972-7008.

Get smart: Get trained to help women negotiate salary

equityAs a women’s studies instructor, one thing that has surprised me is that young women don’t know how to negotiate salary when they are offered a job.  In fact, the idea of negotiating either doesn’t occur to them or it scares them to death.

That’s why I’m going to $tart $mart Training on Saturday afternoon at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware. The training is offered by AAUW Ohio and the Wage Project to ensure that women graduating from college start their careers knowing how to negotiate for fair and equal pay.

It will be offered from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Conrades Conrades-Wetherell Science Center on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. The cost is $50, payable by cash or check. Walk-ins are welcome.

Read more about the training and the AAUW Ohio Leadership Workshop of which it is a part.

Learn more about the Wage Project.

Take action for pay equity for women

epd_ecard_photoOn June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay men and women different wages for the same work. Today, April 28, 2009, women still do not have pay equity.

Women in 2009 make 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. And we are are still working to change that.

Today is Equal Pay Day 2009, the day when women’s earnings finally match what men made in 2008.  

Take action about the pay gap, which burdens women throughout their lives:

  • Find out more about this year’s Pay Equity Day.
  • Send an Equal Pay Day e-card.
  • Find out what the pay gap is in your state.
  • Watch a You Tube video about Equal Pay Day.
  • Contact your representatives in Congress to support the Paycheck Fairness Act

Economic crisis? Let women fix it!

rosieAs a sophomore at the University of Akron taking Feminist Theory, I have learned a lot in the past three months.  Not only have I gathered valuable information about the history of women and the feminist movement, but my opinions about current issues have been shaped by what I have discovered.  One such issue is the empowerment of women in the workforce.

As my Feminist Theory instructor has told our class, today’s women do two-thirds of the world’s work and make only 10 percent of the world’s money.  I find this absolutely baffling.  There’s definitely something wrong here.  This statistic is mentioned on the Global Issues page dedicated to Women’s Rights.

So what does this mean?  Well, in these horrible economic times, it means we have a very simple answer to our problems right in front of our faces: empower women.  These two little words hold the key to turning America, and the world as a whole, into a better place.

If you give a woman the tools necessary to plant, gather and cook food, she will most definitely make sure that no one goes hungry.  If you give a man these same tools, chances are he will provide for himself and his immediate family.  Women are called the caregivers for a reason: They will help those in need.

Although empowering women will solve many problems and help many people, we still have the two-thirds dilemma.  If equal pay for equal work is finally enacted, I believe that the economic problems we are facing will get better.  It may not happen right away, but it is only logical that if the nation’s wealth is equally distributed, there won’t be as many financial problems.

Overall, I may just by a mere sophomore and may not know anything about the world, but I do know this: Feminist Theory has taught me a great deal so far about the world and the way we think about it.  It has helped me open my mind to new ideas and ways of thinking. 

I can only hope you have taken a feminist approach and kept an open mind when reading and thinking about what I have written here.

Caroline Drotar is a student in the Spring 2009 Feminist Theory class. To read more student posts, click here.

Equity is still an issue!


The Lilly

Lilly Ledbetter worked for Akron-based Goodyear for more than 20 years when she discovered she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts. She filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and won.  She was awarded back pay and other remedies in a jury trial.

Of course, the company appealed; they appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court. In a hard to believe decision, the court ruled that Ledbetter had to file her suit within 180 days of when the pay discrimination began, not within 180 days of when she found out she had received less pay. So she lost her back pay.

That law was changed yesterday. After a hard-fought battle in the Senate, with our Senator Voinivich voting NO, Congress voted to change the law.  Yesterday President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. People– including women– are now permitted to file a claim for paycheck discrimination whenever they learn of it.

Statistics on women in the workplace speak to the need for action. American Association of University  Women research shows that the average women earns 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, and that this wage gap begins just one year out of college and continues throughout a woman’s life.  The wage gap not only affects a woman’s paycheck. It affects her ability to provide for her family and her retirement.   

This case and subsequent legislation serves as a message to us all that the fight for equality is not over for women and minorities. Too often we think the work of the ’60s and ’70s is completed. But obviously it isn’t.

So if you are a young woman and find out you are making the same as the men  in your job, don’t think, “See, I knew all that feminist stuff was bull.”  Instead, thank women who have been fighting these battles for more than 40 years and every once in a while achieve a victory.

And, join them.

Ledbetter, having lost in the United States Supreme Court, will receive no financial benefit from the bill that bears her name. But you might!

For more information on pay equity visit www.aauw.org.

Voinovich among 56 who voted against Fair Pay Act

Six Senate Republicans deserve a vote of thanks. They broke ranks with their party to join Democrats in supporting the Fair Pay Act last week. Ohio Senator George Voinovich was not among them.

He was one of 56 senators who voted against the legislation on April 23. Send him an e-mail to tell him what you think of his vote.

Of the three presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama supported the act. Republican John McCain was not present for the vote, but said he would have voted against it if he had been. While you’re at it, give him a piece of your mind, too.

Failure of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act means it is still nearly impossible to enforce the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that guarantee equal pay for equal work.

We have the Supreme Court to thank for that. Last year, in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear, the court ruled that complaints of pay discrimination must be filed within 180 days of the first discriminatory paycheck.

And since it usually takes someone longer than six months to discover pay inequity,  the court’s ruling penalizes employees who aren’t paid fairly, while rewarding employers for keeping pay data hidden.

The Fair Pay Act would restart the 180-day clock with each discriminatory paycheck.

Read more about Ledbetter’s struggle. Read an opinion piece about the Senate’s failure in the New York Times.

Get details of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.