timeline

born 1938

Anonymous notes in her work mailbox at Goodyear were nothing new to Lilly Ledbetter. The helpful ones saved her job more than once. But she was not prepared for the one that would change her life...and those of so many others. It was a note that revealed her salary alongside the salaries of two men in her same position, who'd started with her at the tire plant in 1979.

Soon after, this small-town Alabama woman became the center of a US Supreme Court battle. Her name is forever associated with landmark equal pay legislation that followed. Despite this success, Ledbetter's claim for restitution was denied. And, the companion to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ~ the Paycheck Fairness Act prohibiting unequal pay for equal work ~ has yet to make it out of Congress.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Lilly Ledbetter (11)

"There was nothing I wouldn't do, no matter how dirty or hard. I never expected anybody to make it easier for me."

Retired US worker becomes champion of women's fair pay | january 2008

"There will be a far richer reward if we secure fair pay. For our children and grandchildren, so that no one will ever again experience the discrimination that I did. Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental American principle."

Democratic National Convention | august 2008

"Being from the south, I thought it [equal pay] was a southern problem, men thinking women need to stay at home. But I've met a doctor in New York who had to sue the state of New York because her colleagues were getting paid twice as much as her."

Equal Payback for Lilly Ledbetter | april 2009

"I'll be happy if the last thing they say about me after I die is that I made a difference."

Lillyledbetter.com | 2009

"I will be a second-class citizen for the rest of my life."

Equal pay crusader | october 2009

"It not only hurt me, but it hurt every working woman and minority out there today."

Equal pay crusader | october 2009

"When we lose 23 cents every hour, every day, every paycheck, every job, over our entire lives, what we lose can't be measured in dollars."

Democratic National Convention | september 2012

"You can't afford to lose your job. And that's why people locked into this. They're held hostage."

MAKERS | 2013

"I always did like to travel my own road."

Grace and Grit | february 2013

"It was always clear that I'd never be part of the boys' club—and that was just as well. It wasn't a club that I wanted to belong to."

Grace and Grit | february 2013

"Those numbers said loud and clear that it didn't matter how hard I'd worked, how much I'd wanted to succeed and do the right thing. I'd been born the wrong sex, and that was that."

Grace and Grit | february 2013
  • Quotabelle profile
  • Lilly Ledbetter

curated with care by Meghan Miller Brawley {may 2014}