Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, today released the following statement to honor the sixth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration act and the continuing battle to ensure that women earn the same pay as men for the same work.
“I join people across our state and across our nation in honoring the struggle and victory of Lilly Ledbetter by continuing my efforts to fight for equal pay for all in Washington state through Senate Bill SB 6442, the Equal Pay Opportunity Act. Unless we act, according to a recent study, our state will not achieve true pay equity for another 72 years. That’s too long to wait.
“For nearly 20 years, Lilly Ledbetter performed on a par with her male counterparts in the workplace, despite facing discrimination and sexual harassment. She started out at an equal pay level but after two decades of exemplary job performance she was earning nearly $550 less each month than her lowest-paid male counterpart.
“Though the U.S. Supreme Court threw out her suit to recoup her lost wages, Lilly continued to fight for equal pay for all, a fight that culminated in her standing alongside the President of the United States as an act of Congress was passed in her name.
“Interestingly, that act helps men as well as women by preventing businesses from paying employees of any gender differently from other employees doing the same work.
“Far too many employees still face pay discrimination. In Washington State, women are paid eighty cents, on average, for each dollar earned by a man doing the same work. This discrimination does not just affect women in the workplace; it reduces the spending power of their families and their households.
“Today I ask my colleagues to join with me in honoring the courage of Lilly Ledbetter, the anniversary of the federal passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Act, and to stand for fairness and ensuring that everyone receives equal pay for equal work.”