"[W]e must recommit ourselves
more broadly to ensuring that
our daughters have the same
rights and opportunities
as our sons."
－ President Barack Obama, 1.22.09
Apparently, Mr. President ain't just whistling Dixie with his moving feminist rhetoric (OK, poor choice of idiom, but you know what I mean).
Today, the President signed his first bill into law: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Named for an Alabama woman who, at the end of a 19-year career with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant Company, complained that she had been paid less than her male counterparts during her entire tenure with the company. A court ruled that she had been discriminated against, but the U.S. Supreme Court tossed the case, ruling that she should have filed her lawsuit within 180 days of the date she received her first less-than paycheck from Goodyear.
The new law resets the six-month clock every time a worker receives a paycheck. Congress actually tried to pass a similar measure two years ago, but the Bush administration opposed the bill and Senate Republicans killed it.
The President was joined at the bill signing ceremony by women from both sides of the political aisle, as well as Ms. Ledbetter herself, now 70 and part of feminist history. First Lady Michelle Obama spoke afterward at a reception in the State Dining Room.
"It is fitting that with
the very first bill I sign －
the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
－ we are upholding one of
this nation's first principles:
that we are all created equal
and each deserve a chance
to pursue our own version
－ President Barack Obama, 1.29.09