Obama Touts Fair Pay Law at Historic Seneca Falls Site

He spoke at the site of the historic 1848 women's rights convention

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JASON REED / Reuters

President Barack Obama hands a copy of the speech that he gave before signing his first bill as President on January 29, 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, to women representing the National Park Service, during his visit to the Women's Rights National Historical Park visitors center in Seneca Falls, New York, August 22, 2013.

President Barack Obama on Thursday visited the site of the historic 1848 women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., leaving behind a copy of the first bill he signed in office, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Obama’s visit, ahead of Women’s Equality Day next week, came during his bus tour through upstate New York and Pennsylvania promoting his college affordability proposals. Obama also left a copy of his remarks during the 2009 bill signing.

The law made it easier for women to file equal-pay lawsuits by establishing that the 180-day statute of limitations on filing claims of discriminatory wage practices resets with every paycheck.

“It’s an honor to visit Seneca Falls and recall the righteous struggle that found expression here,” Obama said at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. “I’m also proud to add an example of Lilly Ledbetter’s leadership to your collection. Thanks for all you do to honor the character and perseverance of America’s women.”

Obama made brief remarks about the law and its goals, before posing for pictures with those in attendance.

“We want to make a little contribution,” Obama said in leaving behind a copy of the bill.

“Please! We’ll take it,” one woman remarked.

Obama purchased several souvenirs for his daughters, the White House said, including copies of the Declaration of Sentiments that was signed at the Women’s Rights Convention.

20 comments
TakingUpSpace
TakingUpSpace

There was no equality day when women gained the right to vote in 1920. That's because women were not given the responsibility for defending the country.

In the years leading up to suffrage, while women were demanding the right to vote, World War One by the tens of thousands was killing and maiming young men, many of whom themselves were too young to vote but not too young to be conscripted. Demanding the right to live never occurred to them in that era. What if women back then had been told that getting the vote would mean being required to fight in a war in a strange land far away from the comfort of home and family? How many women would have said, "Take this suffrage and stuff it"?

Having the vote is looked at as giving women more power relative to men. But consider: 

In 1912, a few years before suffrage, 18-year-old boys, who had their entire adult lives ahead of them, were among the men barred from entering the Titanic's life boats before females, many of whom were old enough to have already lived three or four times longer than these boys. 

The custom of “women and children first” ran not only against the interests of men but also against the interests of children: 74 percent of the Titanic’s women were saved, compared to only 52 percent of the children. (See the Anesi Web Site at http://www.anesi.com/titanic.htm.) 

For every adult female saved on the Titanic, two more children might have been saved. When our most important right was at stake – the right to live – women’s interest trumped even the interests of children. 

What incredible power: to live a long life, then to be rescued in a crisis at the expense of both men AND children. That's the power experienced by the older women helped into Titanic’s lifeboats. (If old men had been saved at the expense of women and children, we’d still be hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women and the privilege of men.)

That was at the pinnacle of the "oppressive patriarchy." Oppressive to whom?

Advocates of "Equality Day" seem to have no idea of what real equality is. That's because they're blinded by the apex fallacy:

"The apex fallacy is the idea that we use the most visible members of a group to make generalizations about the entire group; i.e. we see prominent men at the top of the pyramid and think all men are doing well, when, in fact, there are a great many at the bottom of the pyramid too." -Alison Beard, a senior editor at Harvard Business Review: http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/hbreditors/2013/03/whats_worse_glass_ceilings_or_glass_cellars.html

To those interested in true equality, I recommend “The Doctrinaire Institute for Women's Policy Research: A Comprehensive Look at Gender Equality” at http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/the-doctrinaire-institute-for-womens-policy-research/

applefellup
applefellup

Women's groups, like all politically organizations, seek only advantage. Equality has nothing to do with it.

sacredh
sacredh

"The law made it easier for women to file equal-pay lawsuits by establishing that the 180-day statute of limitations on filing claims of discriminatory wage practices resets with every paycheck.'

Equal pay for equal work. What a novel idea.

crhousel
crhousel

@marilynrbush Ooooooo!!! <3 <3 We soo have school girl crushes on the president--clearly, they are jealous! Lol