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Lilly Ledbetter, Equal Pay Pioneer, Speaks at SCSU [AUDIO]

Abby Faulkner

ST. CLOUD – A packed house on Tuesday night at St. Cloud State’s Atwood Ballroom. Lilly Ledbetter, the nationally renown inspiration for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, spoke about her journey through the court system in order to ensure that women are treated fairly and compensated evenly in the workplace.

Ledbetter described the 1979 start of her long time employment as the sole female supervisor for the Gadsden, Alabama Goodyear Tire plant – and the moment, nearly 20 years later, when she learned through an anonymous tip that she had been paid significantly less for the same work her male coworkers were doing.

Now, as of 2009, Ledbetter’s name is stamped on a Federal Law designed to loosen the timeline for starting a discrimination suit, and protect others against the same gender discrimination she endured at Goodyear.

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Ledbetter says we still have a ways to go – according to national statistics, women are earning an average of $.77 to every dollar earned by a male counterpart.

When asked about how young women can assert themselves in male dominated fields, Ledbetter said the key is to work hard and always stay informed on what you’re entitled to as a salary.

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She also stressed the importance of voting in the next election and took time to sign copies of her new book, “Grit and Grace,” after her speech.

The event coincides with the 90th anniversary of St. Cloud’s branch of the American Association of University Women, who took part in sponsoring the event.

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