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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

Unhappy Equal Pay Day

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: April 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

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.


Shh! Never Discuss Your Salary

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: April 17, 2012 at 10:31 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.


Take Action: Lilly and Betty Need Back-up

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: September 29, 2011 at 02:00 pm

As a fair pay advocate, you stood hand-in-hand with Lilly Ledbetter and Betty Dukes as they fought for fair pay against some of the largest employers in the United States. As courageous as they have been, women like them shouldn't have to go at it alone.

It's time that Lilly and Betty have some back-up. Take action today: Tell the Department of Labor to help protect women from pay discrimination.

The Department of Labor is currently considering creating a new compensation data tool that would make it easier to enforce laws that prohibit pay discrimination. Since 2006, the federal government has had NO tool to effectively monitor wage discrimination based on race, national origin and gender by private employers. This means that our tax dollars could possibly be going to federal contractors who are not paying women fairly. It's time to take a stand. Raise your voice: tell the Department of Labor to move us forward and collect wage data.


The Clock's Ticking for Wal-Mart Women - Be Among the First To Know

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: June 10, 2011 at 03:26 pm

On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. But, 48 years later, women still face discrimination in the workplace — women like Betty Dukes, who brought her case against Wal-Mart all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court in March.