Mount Holyoke College
Weissman Center for Leadership

Lilly Ledbetter and Her Fight for Equal Pay

Public Lecture and Panel Discussion

Lilly Ledbetter with panelists Marcia Greenberger, Judith Lichtman, and Mariko Chang
Moderated by Judith Lonnquist '62

Tuesday, February 26, 7:00 PM
Chapin Auditorium, Mary Woolley Hall
Free and open to the public

Lilly Ledbetter will share her personal story of grit and determination for equal pay, followed by a panel of scholars, advocates, and legal advisors at the forefront in passing the groundbreaking Fair Pay Act and in fighting for gender equality. Panelists include Marcia Greenberger, Co-President, National Women's Law Center; Judith Lichtman, Senior Advisor and former President, National Partnership for Women and Families; and Mariko Chang, a scholar on woman of color, the wealth gap, and occupational segregation. The panel will be moderated by Judith Lonnquist '62, employment and civil rights attorney, and founder of the Northwest Women's Law Center. Ledbetter will sign her book "Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay at Goodyear and Beyond" following the event. Co-sponsored by the 175th Anniversary, the President's Office, Odyssey Bookshop and MotherWoman.

Lilly Ledbetter worked as a supervisor at a Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Alabama for 19 years. She worked tirelessly and was often praised by Goodyear for her fine work. Towards the end of her career, Ledbetter began to suspect that she wasn’t getting paid as much as her male counterparts. An anonymous note left in her mailbox confirmed Ledbetter’s suspicions. Intent on facing the discrimination, she brought an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Complaint (EOCC) against Goodyear, and won. The jury agreed that Goodyear had violated the law and awarded her what she was owed. According to Ledbetter, “I hoped the verdict would make my company feel the sting, learn a lesson and never again treat women unfairly.”

But Goodyear appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court and in a 5-4 decision, the Court sided with big business. Their reasoning? Ledbetter should have filed her claim within six months of Goodyear’s first decision to pay her less. After the decision, legal groups and politicians took action and worked to introduce a bill. And on January 29, 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law to make it easier for women who have experienced pay discrimination to fight back.

Student Leadership Seminar
Tuesday, February 26, 4:15PM
Dwight 201 Lounge
With Marcia Greenberger, Judith Lichtman, Mariko Chang, and Judith Lonnquist.
Pre-registration required


Marcia Greenberger has been described as "guiding the battles of the women's rights movement'' by the New York Times. Greenberger is the founder and Co-President of the National Women's Law Center. The creation of the Center forty years ago established her as the first full-time women's rights legal advocate in Washington, D.C.
View full bio of Marcia Greenberger.

Judith Lichtman has been a guiding and influential force in the women's movement for more than 40 years. She stepped down as president of the National Partnership for Women & Families in 2004, and is presently Senior Advisor at the National Partnership. Her commitment, vision, and talent as an attorney and advocate have made a profound difference for women and families across the United States.
View full bio of Judith Lichtman.

Dr. Mariko Chang is the author of the new book, Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It, coauthor of the recent report ''At Rope's End: Single Women Mothers, Wealth, and Assets in the U.S." and the main author of ''Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth, and America's Future.''
View full bio of Mariko Chang.

Judith L. Lonnquist '62 specializes in plaintiffs' employment and civil rights law, with an occasional foray into traditional labor law and campaign finance law. She is a founder of the Northwest Women's Law Center and served as a member of Washington State's Gender & Justice Taskforce. She currently serves as a member of the Washington State Gender & Justice Commission and the Washington State Initiative for Diversity Governing Council. She has received numerous awards for her work on behalf of women's rights and workplace fairness.
View full bio of Judith L. Lonnquist.


Smart Start Salary Negotiation
February 28, registration required
Sponsored by the Career Development Center