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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

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 03:09 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.

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Time to Jam the Phones!

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 10:58 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.

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Put Your Lipstick On

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 11:21 am

Contact Your Senators Today!

Take Action
Tell your Senators to show their support for equal pay by co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Take Action

"Ladies, put your lipstick on, square your shoulders, and get ready to do battle. This calls for a revolution!"

That's what Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said on the floor of the Senate during the successful fight to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. And now she needs our help for the next battle over equal pay — passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.

In the coming weeks, we expect a Senate vote on this vital legislation so we need you to contact your Senators today.

Please tell your Senators to show their support for equal pay by co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act.

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

Read more...

Unhappy Equal Pay Day

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: April 17, 2012 at 11:20 am

Spring came early this year for those of us living on the East Coast. Here in Washington D.C., one of the world’s greatest displays of springtime—the Cherry Blossom trees—peaked early, with the blossoms gone weeks before the start of the annual festival that celebrates their fleeting beauty. Unfortunately for women across the country, not all springtime traditions came early this year. Equal Pay Day—the date when a typical woman's wages catch up to those of her male counterpart from the year before—remains stuck in late April. This year we mark Equal Pay Day on April 17th.

American women still earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men—a disparity that has budged a scant 18 cents in 50 years. The average gap in earnings translates to $10,784 a year in lost wages, a sum that could feed a typical family of four for a year and five months, pay an average mortgage and utilities for over ten months, or cover child care costs for a year and a half. And the numbers are even bleaker for women of color. For each dollar earned by the average white male, a black woman makes just 62.3 cents, and a Hispanic woman earns a meager 54 cents.

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Shh! Never Discuss Your Salary

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: April 17, 2012 at 09:31 am

Women Are Not WorthLess™

Ask President Obama to take action on Equal Pay Day
Ask President Obama to take action
on Equal Pay Day.
Take Action

Never discuss your salary with anyone.

That's what they told Lilly Ledbetter on her first day on the job in 1979. It wasn't until she found an anonymous note in her locker that Lilly realized that she was being paid as much as 40% less than her male colleagues in the same position.

This sort of pay secrecy policy that punishes employees helps to hide discriminatory pay practices. And here's the kicker: Lilly worked all those years for Goodyear Tire & Rubber, which had the privilege of being a federal contractor.

Today is Equal Pay Day — the day that a typical woman's wages finally catch up to a typical man's in 2011. Ask President Obama to ban federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about wages.

It took Lilly 20 years to find out that she was being paid less than her male co-workers. But we know that Lilly is not alone: nearly fifty years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women working full time are paid just 77 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. And the wage gap is far worse for women of color.

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