Indiana State University Newsroom

Namesake of equal pay law to speak at Indiana State

January 22, 2014

Lilly Ledbetter worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. for nearly 20 years, but when she speaks at Indiana State University on Feb. 5 she won't be talking about tires or the company's famous blimp.

"Equal Pay for Equal Work" will be the topic of Ledbetter's presentation, set for 7 p.m. in Tilson Auditorium as part of the 2013-14 University Speakers Series.

Following her 1998 retirement, Ledbetter sued Goodyear for paying her less than her male counterparts as production supervisors at the company's Gadsden, Ala. plant. Her fight for equal pay went all the way to the Supreme Court, which denied her claim because she did not file suit within 180 days of her first paycheck.

Ledbetter said she was not initially aware of the pay differential and could not have learned about it in time to meet the deadline. She continued her fight for gender equity and, in 2009, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which clarifies that discrimination occurs with each paycheck. It was the first bill Obama signed as president.

Ledbetter co-authored a 2013 book about her experiences, "Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond," which is being made into a movie. A featured speaker at colleges, universities, conferences, business, political and women's groups around the country, she has made frequent appearances on the "Rachel Maddow Show," "Hardball with Chris Matthews," "CBS Morning Show with Gayle King and Charlie Rose," "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell," the "Ed Shultz Show," "The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert," and "PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton."

She holds an honorary doctor of law from the City University of New York School of Law and has received numerous national and international honors and awards. A national champion in ballroom dancing, she waltzed with President Obama at his first Inaugural Ball.

Ledbetter's presentation, like all University Speakers Series events at Indiana State, is free.

Photo: - Lilly Ledbetter

Photo: - Ledbetter's book.

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or