Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

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

Beyond 16 and Pregnant

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: June 19, 2012 at 01:33 pm

Do your elected officials support pregnant and parenting students in school?

A Pregnancy Test for Schools
Send a copy of our groundbreaking report to your elected officials today.
Take Action

Have you ever seen MTV's show "16 and Pregnant?" It tells the stories of girls trying to graduate from high school while juggling the responsibilities of parenthood. Their struggles aren't glamorous or pretty — they're real and heartbreaking. While some of the girls stay in school and graduate, many drop out. It shouldn't have to be that way.

It may seem crazy, but Title IX — the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education — was enacted 40 years ago this month, yet schools still bar pregnant and parenting students from activities, discourage them from staying in school, push them into alternative programs and penalize them for pregnancy-related absences. All of that violates Title IX and increases the risk that students will drop out.

Today, the National Women's Law Center is releasing a new report: A Pregnancy Test for Schools: The Impact of Education Laws on Pregnant and Parenting Students. This report ranks your state and shows how the vast majority of state education laws and policies fail to adequately support these students.

Send a copy of our groundbreaking report to your elected officials today. They need to know where your state stands and what pregnant and parenting students need to succeed.

Read more...

What Do the Faces of Title IX Look Like?

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: June 14, 2012 at 01:35 pm

"Come to the blacktop at my middle school and hang out for a couple of hours. You'll get a sense of what 12-to-14-year olds like and how they act. For them this is the center of the world."

Sarah Egan's basketball teamMiddle school teacher Sarah Egan takes us on her three year journey when she agrees to coach the girls' basketball team. Most of the players had never picked up a basketball and early on, she considered it a success if they ran in the right direction. Her team lost every game in the first two seasons.

But despite these odds, they transform into a championship team. More importantly, as they support each other as a group, their spirits soar and they gain confidence both on the court and in the classroom.

Sarah's is just one of nine stories at the heart of NWLC's new online portal, FACES OF TITLE IX. These stories go beyond the statistics to show how the law has helped people — whether it's a student facing bullying in school, a young woman pressured to leave school after becoming pregnant or a race official literally standing in a young woman's way.

Read more...

Equal Pay Bill Falls Short in Senate

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: June 05, 2012 at 04:25 pm

Mad about the vote?

Help spread the word about equal pay for women.
Help spread the word about equal pay for women.
Share Today

Just moments ago, the Paycheck Fairness Act failed to get the 60 votes needed to move forward in the Senate. Fifty-two Senators voted to allow it to proceed, while 47 opposed it.

For the thousands of you who sent emails, made calls and met with your Members of Congress on this very important bill, this is a huge disappointment. We thank you for standing with us, and we urge you to continue the fight.

In the wake of a disappointing vote, help us get the message out about the importance of equal pay for women by sharing this video:

Read more...

Restoring Some Reality to the Paycheck Fairness Debate

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 04:09 pm

For nearly 50 years, federal law has banned the payment of unequal wages to women and men who perform the same job. Yet women today still make only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts – an improvement of only 18 cents over the last several decades. And for women of color, the gap is even larger.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen current laws against wage discrimination by protecting employees who voluntarily share pay information with colleagues from retaliation, fully compensating victims of sex-based pay discrimination, and holding employers more accountable under the Equal Pay Act. These proposals would finally move the ball forward on the wage gap that has inched along over the last 50 years and remained stagnant over the last decade.

In recent weeks, opponents of the Paycheck Fairness Act have put forth rhetoric that downplays the wage gap and mischaracterizes the commonsense proposals in the bill. To restore some reality to the debate, I’ve unpacked five absurd myths that have emerged as the Senate prepares to consider the Paycheck Fairness Act next week.

Read more...

Time to Jam the Phones!

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 11:58 am

It's go time!

The Vote is Coming — Call Today!

The PFA Vote is Coming — Call Today!
We need your help to call on the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Dial 1-888-876-9527 Today!

For the next 48 hours, the National Women's Law Center and organizations across the country are joining forces to turn up the heat on the Senate in support of equal pay. You can help: call 1-888-876-9527 today!

What's the rush?

We expect a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act in the coming weeks and we need to make sure our Senators hear from us now. For the next 48 hours we want to jam the phones to send a clear message of support for the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Can you take two minutes of your time to call your Senators in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act?

We will make it super-easy. This is all it takes:

  1. Dial 1-888-876-9527.
  2. Listen to the sample script and follow the instructions for connecting to your Senator's office.
  3. Don't neglect your other Senator. Call back and make sure he/she gets a call, too!
  4. Double your impact by forwarding this message to a friend.

If you haven't already heard...

The Paycheck Fairness Act would deter wage discrimination by updating the nearly 50-year-old Equal Pay Act, in part by barring retaliation against workers who disclose their own wages to coworkers.

Read more...