As the GOP has garnered victories in Massachussetts, Virginia and New Jersey since the 2008 presidential election, progressives are looking for a new path to keep the seats they have and win back the ones they’ve lost. Standard playbook assumptions about where, how and why progressives can win campaigns have been turned on their head as increasing numbers of voters feel disaffected and Tea Partiers throw wild cards into many races. Progressive women can embrace this moment to help move the progressive agenda forward. But too often the Democratic Party fails to recruit and support the very women candidates who could be game changers for progressive politics. We’ll discuss how the growing numbers of activist women—and organizations devoted to helping them participate in politics and political leadership—can help reconnect voters with important progressive economic and gender issues. And we’ll analyze how to access the untapped power of women who want to make a difference for progressive issues and what it will take to get them elected. OH, and we’ll talk about the mama grizzlies…
If I do say so myself, I put together a superstar panel. Besides myself, you’ll get to hear and talk with:
Barbara Lee is a national leader in the effort to promote women’s political leadership and powerful participation in our democracy and in the arts.
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which Lee founded and leads, is recognized nationally for investing in women in politics. Lee is the driving force behind the Foundation’s groundbreaking “Governors Guidebook” series, which combines original research with nationally-distributed practical guides for women candidates seeking executive office.
Lee has leveraged her belief in empowering women in politics by endowing the Barbara Lee Women in U.S. Politics Training Program and Lecture Series at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, which trains women for political office in the United States, and the Barbara Lee Political Intern Fellowship Program at Simmons College.
Joanne Bamberger is a recovering attorney, author and political/media analyst living in the shadow of the nation’s capital. She’s also known around the blogosphere as PunditMom!
PunditMom blog is the home of op-ed commentary by Joanne, who is also a freelance writer and former op-ed columnist for The Washington Examiner. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including The Washington Post, various American Lawyer Media publications, Legal Times, Washingtonian Magazine, and many others.
A new media expert and authority on political involvement of women and mothers, Joanne is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and a featured columnist at CafeMom’s The Stir where she writes a weekly feature called Speaker of the House. Joanne also writes at MomsRising and MOMocrats, and was a contributing editor for news and politics at BlogHer. Her political commentary has appeared on CNN, Fox News, ABC.com, BBC Radio, NPR, Al Jazeera English & XM Radio POTUS ‘08, among others.
Joanne speaks frequently at conferences and to private groups about the growing influence of women/mothers in politics and social media. She has presented and participated in panels at Netroots Nation 2009, the Feminist Majority Foundation, EMILY’s List, BlogHer, Fem 2.0, Type-A Mom Conference, WAM! 2009, the Women’s Media Center and others.
Pam Spaulding is the editor and publisher of PamsHouseBlend.com, honored as Best LGBT Blog in the 2005 and 2006 Weblog Awards. In 2009, she was named one of Huffington Post’s Ultimate Game Changers in Politics, received the Women’s Media Center Award for Online Journalism, and named one of the OUT 100. Spaulding lives in Durham, NC.
Maria Teresa Kumar, president, Voto Latino
Roxanne Conlin, Candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa
GLORIA FELDT is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, a sought-after speaker and frequent contributor to major news outlets, and the Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead. People has called her “the voice of experience,” and among the many honors she has been given, Vanity Fair called her one of America’s “Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers,” and Glamour chose her as a “Woman of the Year.”
You know how I like to ask “so what are you going to do about it?” Well, here’s a great example, courtesy of blogger Joanne Cronrath Bamberger, aka PunditMom. She has graciously allowed me to crosspost her commentary from Huffington Post. For those of us who feel justice requires that Lilly Ledbetter receive compensation for her heroic efforts on behalf of all women’s paycheck equality, Joanne provides an easy way to communicate to Lilly’s former employer, Goodyear Rubber and Tire, and urge them to make good on the pay they in effect robbed her of over the years. Here you go, and don’t forget to drop your note to Goodyear:
As so many women have been basking in the glow of the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the news reports reminded us that even though Lilly has become a standard bearer for the fight for fair pay for women, Lilly herself will never see a nickel of the money that she sued Goodyear Rubber and Tire for.
The Ledbetter law overturned the Supreme Court decision denying Lilly the $360,000+ of back pay and benefits that the trial court had ruled she was entitled to, but the newly signed law isn’t retroactive; it only applies to cases going forward. So the 70-year-old, recently widowed Ledbetter, who worked in a tire factory for almost 20 years to support her family, only gets the psychic benefit of knowing she was able to help other women. Hopefully.
But here’s the thing — the appeals court rulings that denied Lilly her back pay were based on a now invalid argument. So, technically, the factual finding by the trial court that Goodyear discriminated against Ledbetter would stand today. Goodyear is steadfast that it didn’t do anything wrong, according to a statement Goodyear released following the Ledbetter signing ceremony, making the corporation sound like the victim, not Lilly.
While Goodyear likes to focus on the Supreme Court’s decision that it didn’t have to pay anything because Lilly didn’t file her case under a tortured reading of the existing statute of limitations, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg summed up what was really going on in her dissent. Ginsburg, as the lone woman on the court, reminded us of “the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination.”
“The Court … overlooks common characteristics of pay discrimination. Pay disparities often occur, as they did in Ledbetter’s case, in small increments; cause to suspect that discrimination is at work develops only over time. Comparative pay information, moreover, is often hidden from the employee’s view. Employers may keep under wraps the pay differentials maintained among supervisors, no less the reasons for those differentials. Small initial discrepancies may not be seen as meet for a federal case, particularly when the employee, trying to succeed in a nontraditional environment, is averse to making waves.”
It’s really been bothering me that a corporation like Goodyear that reported profits of $602 million in 2007 (its most current annual SEC filing) most likely spent much more on attorneys’ fees than the $360K it could have paid Lilly, trying to convince us it didn’t practice gender discrimination. According to its 2007 annual report, Goodyear did, however, pay millions to settle other types of lawsuits. So I thought, wouldn’t it be refreshing if Goodyear would do the right thing and pay Lilly Ledbetter the back wages it should have paid her in the first place?
If we really want to honor Lilly and what she did for us and for our daughters (and our sons — they’ll benefit from this, as well), I say we should all call on Goodyear to pay Lilly what it should have paid her to begin with. You don’t even need an envelope or stamp. Here’s a link to the Goodyear site with the names and online form to contact Goodyear’s Global and Corporate Communications honchos.
Here’s a short letter you can feel free to use:
Now that President Obama has reversed the Supreme Court decision that denied Lilly Ledbetter her $360,000 in back pay, we call on you to do the right thing and pay Lilly what she should have been paid over the course of 20 years. While the new Ledbetter Law is not retroactive, think about all the public goodwill Goodyear would receive in these tough economic times if it stepped up and did the right thing by Lilly.
I know it’s a long shot, but sometimes a little shame can go a long way. And given what Lilly did for us, I figured it’s the least we can try to do for her.