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Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyondby Lilly Ledbetter
Synopses & Reviews
The courageous story of the woman at the center of the historic discrimination case that inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act--her fight for equal rights in the workplace, and how her determination became a victory for the nation.
Lilly Ledbetter was born in a house with no running water or electricity in the small town of Possum Trot, Alabama. She knew that she was destined for something more, and in 1979, Lilly applied for her dream job at the Goodyear tire factory. Even though the only women she’d seen there were secretaries in the front offices where she’d submitted her application, she got the job—one of the first women hired at the management level.
Though she faced daily discrimination and sexual harassment, Lilly pressed onward, believing that eventually things would change. Until, nineteen years later, Lilly received an anonymous note revealing that she was making thousands less per year than the men in her position. Devastated, she filed a sex discrimination case against Goodyear, which she won—and then heartbreakingly lost on appeal. Over the next eight years, her case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost again: the court ruled that she should have filed suit within 180 days of her first unequal paycheck--despite the fact that she had no way of knowing that she was being paid unfairly all those years. In a dramatic moment, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, urging Lilly to fight back.
And fight Lilly did, becoming the namesake of President Barack Obama's first official piece of legislation. Today, she is a tireless advocate for change, traveling the country to urge women and minorities to claim their civil rights. Both a deeply inspiring memoir and a powerful call to arms, Grace and Grit is the story of a true American icon.
"In 1998, after Ledbetter had spent 19 grueling years working at a Goodyear plant, an anonymous note showed her that she made 40% less than her male counterparts. So began her decade-long legal battle for equal pay, a story she tells movingly and frankly with coauthor Isom. After a hardscrabble childhood in a small Alabama community, Ledbetter knew a job at the nearby Goodyear plant meant lifelong financial stability. In 1979 as a manager there, Ledbetter found men reluctant to take orders from a woman, and faced blatant sexual harassment (a performance review ended with a solicitation). Ledbetter tried to take it in stride, but the stress took a mental and physical toll. Goodyear continually transferred her between departments, citing poor performance, but failed to produce evidence when Ledbetter requested it. After discovering the anonymous note, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, leading to her landmark discrimination lawsuit under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. While Ledbetter lost the case on appeal (a decision upheld by the Supreme Court), the experience prompted her to become a spokesperson for equal pay. In January 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, a satisfying coda to this inspiring tale. Agent: David Black Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
LILLY LEDBETTER was an overnight supervisor at the Alabama Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. for nineteen years. She was the plaintiff in the American employment discrimination case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. She lives in Jacksonville, Alabama.
LANIER SCOTT ISOM is a writer who lives with her husband and their two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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