On Sunday, September 11th, 2016 The Chester County Democratic Women’s Leadership Initiative (CCDWLI) welcomed civil rights and labor leader Lilly Ledbetter to Chester County for their first annual Fall Gala.
For 10 years, Lilly Ledbetter fought to close the gap between women’s and men’s wages, sparring with the Supreme Court, lobbying Capitol Hill in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
Ledbetter won a jury verdict of more than $3 million after having filed a gender pay discrimination suit in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the lower court’s ruling. Despite her defeat, Ledbetter continued her fight until the Supreme Court decision was nullified when President Obama, on January 29, 2009, signed into law the first new law of his administration: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Ledbetter will never receive restitution from Goodyear, but she said, “I’ll be happy if the last thing they say about me after I die is that I made a difference.”
Michele Vaughn, CCDWLI Chair, and Co-founder made the following statement about the event:
“We are thrilled to have Lilly Ledbetter as the speaker and special guest at our Fall Gala. Ms. Ledbetter is not just an icon of the fight for equal pay; she epitomizes the ideas on which this organization was founded. The CCDWLI’s goal is to recognize women as the leaders they are at every level, and to support and encourage those who are willing to stand up and fight on the issues that matter to women and families.
Women are leaders in our communities, in the workplace, in the home and in the political and public policy arena. Lilly Ledbetter’s inspiring story doesn’t just demonstrate the importance of equal pay for women, it demonstrates that a strong and dedicated individual can be a leader, make a difference and effect real change on issues of national importance. Lilly Ledbetter is a true example of women’s leadership.
Our hope is that Lilly Ledbetter’s story will inspire current and future leaders, particularly women leaders, here in our community to stand up and make a difference on the issues about which they feel passionately.
Bringing Lilly Ledbetter to Chester County is an accomplishment for an organization that was only founded in 2015. The CCDWLI is proud that we are able to bring Ms. Ledbetter to Chester County to tell her story, and we are pleased that the proceeds from the Fall Gala will continue to strengthen our organization and allow us to support Democratic candidates up and down the ballot who share the values of this organization and the values of our community.”
The CCDWLI, founded in 2015, is a chapter of the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women. The organization has quickly become one of the areas strongest Democratic organizations. Their first fall event featured female elected leaders from across the Southeastern PA for a roundtable discussion about the important issues facing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This event was a rousing success that set-up the organization for rapid growth
In a short time, the CCDWLI has established a proven track record of success. In the Fall of 2015, the CCDWLI supported 15 targeted Democratic candidates for local elected office in Chester County. Of the 15 candidates, the organization supported, 13 won their contests.
The CCDWLI Leadership Team has successfully focused on growing the organization, raising the resources to support Democratic candidates for office, and offering programs that promote a meaningful discourse on the role of women leaders in our community and our country.