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Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment

Fatima Goss Graves is Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women's Law Center, where she works to promote the rights of women and girls at school and in the workplace. Ms. Goss Graves advocates and litigates core legal and policy issues relating to at-risk girls in school, including those that impact pregnant and parenting students, students in a hostile school climate and students participating in athletics. She further works to advance equal pay for equal work, expand opportunities for women in nontraditional fields, and ensure the development of fundamental legal principles of equal opportunity. She uses a number of advocacy strategies in her work on these issues ranging from public education and legislative advocacy to litigation, including briefs in the Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals. Prior to joining the Center, she worked as an appellate and trial litigator at Mayer Brown LLP. She began her career as a law clerk for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Ms. Goss Graves is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and Yale Law School.

My Take

Equal Pay Front and Center in New Hampshire

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: January 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Women working full-time year-round in New Hampshire still typically earn only about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men – and women of color fare worse. Looks like New Hampshire might do something about it. Today the New Hampshire House is holding a hearing on a bill that would ban retaliation against workers who talk about their wages. (The Senate bill gets a hearing on Thursday). If this bill passes, the Granite state would join states like Vermont, New Jersey, and New Mexico that have recently improved their equal pay laws along with states like Illinois, Colorado, California and Michigan that have long banned penalties for against workers who are trying to gather enough information to challenge their unfair pay. 

Pay secrecy policies can keep women in the dark about their pay, making pay discrimination nearly impossible to detect. Ask Lilly Ledbetter – she worked at a Goodyear plant making less than all of the other male managers for almost 20 years without knowing she was paid less. Goodyear's gag rule supported the discrimination. 

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Hanna Rosin Says The Wage Gap Is A Lie. That’s Just Plain Wrong.

Each September the U.S. Census Bureau puts out information on the annual earnings of male and female workers. We’ll soon know the numbers for 2012, but we already know that in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, women working full time, year round were typically paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts – a loss of $11,084 in 2011.

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This 50th Anniversary I’m Ready to Work

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: August 28, 2013 at 01:08 pm

This afternoon I’m headed to the Lincoln Memorial for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the March on Washington. Today’s event is both a commemoration and call to action. Thousands are gathering to remember the 1963 March and to outline the remaining civil rights agenda.

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Dear Colleges and Universities, Fisher v. UT Austin Did Not Eliminate Affirmative Action

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: June 25, 2013 at 04:00 pm

The best thing about the last week of the Supreme Court's term is that the waiting ends and we can move from predictions (gloomy or otherwise) to analysis.

Here's the bottomline from the much anticipated Fisher v. UT Austin decision — affirmative action in higher education can and should continue (please see our amicus brief for a whole host of reasons why). This is one of those decisions that deserves a close read — I've now done so and have included five key points from the decision that should not go unnoticed. 

  1. Grutter was not overturned. In fact, the Supreme Court followed the decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, that an admissions policy that carefully considers racial and ethnic diversity as one of many factors is constitutional. 
  2. The Court acknowledged the importance of diversity to institutions of higher education. The Court reiterated that it defers to a university's judgment that such diversity is essential to the educational mission. As the Court explained, a diverse student body "serves values beyond race alone, including enhanced classroom dialogue and the lessening of racial isolation and stereotypes." 
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Congresswoman DeLauro, Champion of Fair Pay Policies

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: June 14, 2013 at 11:15 am

All too often, pay discrimination goes undetected because employers maintain policies that punish employees who dare try to inquire about their salary. These punitive pay secrecy policies mean that employees could be fired, demoted, or otherwise penalized simply for trying to inquire about wages. Unfortunately, research has shown that nearly half of private sector employees believe they will be punished if they dare talk about their wages. 

This week Congresswomen DeLauro tried to do something about these unfair policies. She offered an amendment that would have meant that defense contractors could not retaliate against workers who try to share or inquire about salary information. Who would disagree with that? Well, apparently the House Rules Committee did.

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