Women's equal rights activist Lilly Ledbetter, who sued Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. for employment discrimination and inspired Congressional passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, is scheduled to speak at the University of Redlands next week.
The event is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday March 5 in the Memorial Chapel. It is free and open to the public.
Ledbetter was employed by Goodyear Tire & Rubber for 19 years before she discovered she was paid far less than her male peers were being paid for the same work, a university representative said in an announcement.
The lawsuit Ledbetter filed against Goodyear eventually reached the Supreme Court, which failed to vindicate her in a disappointing 5 to 4 ruling, U of R spokeswoman Patty Zurita said.
Ledbetter will never receive the money that was denied her the many years she worked for Goodyear, but the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed by Congress in 2009 ensures other women will not suffer the same inequity, Zurita said.
The act amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically, the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination.
"I'm thrilled that this has finally passed and sends a message to the Supreme Court: You got it wrong," Ledbetter told the Birmingham News before President Barack Obama signed the act in January 2009.
During his State of The Union address earlier this month, Obama said, "We know our economy is stronger when we know our wives, our mothers and our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace."
Ledbetter is author of Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond.
"While Lilly is well known for her public fight for equal pay, Grace and Grit is the first time she shares the story of her hardscrabble upbringing, and the details of the daily sexual harassment she faced at Goodyear," Zurita said. "Even today Lilly remains a tireless crusader, urging women and minorities to claim their civil rights."
The March 5 event is being organized and hosted by U of R's Campus Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Women and Gender Studies, and the Redlands chapter of the American Association of University Women.
For more information about Ledbetter, visit www.lillyledbetter.com. For more information about her visit to U of R, contact Campus Diversity and Inclusion at (909) 748-8297.