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February 2nd, 2009
10:07 PM ET

President Obama remembers "the ladies"

President Barack Obama signs the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

President Barack Obama signs the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”

Jami Floyd
AC360° contributor and In Session anchor

Barack Obama has been fighting for women’s rights ever since his days as a state legislator. So, it is fitting that the first bill he signed into law was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

The law will give workers more time to take their cases to court for equal pay and reverses a United States Supreme Court decision that limited Ms. Ledbetter’s ability to sue after she discovered that Goodyear had been paying higher salaries to her male counterparts for nearly 20 years. So this was a good day for women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, young women, older women, women with disabilities — and their families.

As Michelle Obama noted, this law is especially important at a time when so many families are facing economic hardship. For her part, Mrs. Obama leaves behind a legal career to serve her country in a new capacity; but in this new century she can carve out a new role for the First Lady.

Think of all the first ladies who have come before: Abigail Adams who was her husband’s chief counselor. Eleanor Roosevelt who pushed for women’s liberation long before the term existed. And of course, Hillary Clinton the first former first lady to serve as Secretary of State. Abigail famously wrote to her husband John: “Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.” As he put pen to paper, President Obama did just that.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Is the "pen mighter than the sword?"--–Time will tell.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  2. Robert Montoya

    I believe that women have all the right to make as much as men do in any industry that women are willing to work at. I have worked construction all of my adult life and I have worked with women who make just as much as I do or sometimes more. If women are willing to work where men work and know what they are doing then there should be no conflict. Times are changing and the competition is getting thicker.

    February 3, 2009 at 5:08 am |
  3. Annie Kate

    So does this mean that Lily can go back and sue Goodyear again? And does the act make it any easier for women to find out what their male counterparts are making? In the corporations I worked out it was against the rules to talk about salaries among each other – you could be fired for it. So just how do we find out if we need to sue?

    February 2, 2009 at 10:15 pm |