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Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Equal Pay for Equal Work #EqualPayDay

               "Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got." Janis Joplin

As women, sometimes we compromise ourselves because we believe that is easier than fighting for what is right. Too often we allow ourselves to accept less than we're entitled to. We believe that fighting for ourselves is too much trouble and we also believe that the cost for accepting less is not that big of a deal. After all, why should we negotiate a higher salary when we have received a good offer?'

We should negotiate because failure to do so can interfere with our ability to live the type of life that we would like to live. We should negotiate for our family's sake.

This week I had the good fortune of attending a luncheon and hearing a speech by Lilly LedbetterMrs. Ledbetter was the plaintiff in a landmark employment law case and has become an advocate for working women. Her efforts led to congress passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Mrs. Ledbetter will forever be remembered as the woman who worked to achieve equal pay for women.

Mrs. Ledbetter told her story of being a working woman. She shared how her hard work had led to her promotions. However, she also shared how sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and pay inequity interfered with her success and create a glass ceiling. I realized that her employer by failing to pay her equally her family was cheated twice. They were cheated because she lost precious time with them while she was working. And, they were cheated from the extra pleasures that the extra money could have given them while she was working and during her retirement. It made me think about how many of our families are cheated in the same way.

Her speech revealed that during her journey to achieve equality for women Mrs. Ledbetter endured a lot. She endured the hostility of her employer after she complained about being paid less than men doing the same job. She endured nights away from home and the interrogation of senators. She also had to fight her battle while her husband had cancer.

Despite all of her challenges she kept fighting anyway.

Because of Mrs. Ledbetter, all working women have a more level playing field. However, we still have work to do.  Some of us work because we want to. Some of us work because we have to. However, all of us deserve fair pay and a working environment that is free of harassment.

Mrs. Ledbetter reminded me that some things are indeed worth fighting for. The fight for equality is not an individual one. It is a fight for every woman and for our families.

So, keep fighting for what is right. And like Janis Joplin said, don't compromise yourself.

Helpful Resources Discussing Equal Pay

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