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Lilly Ledbetter has achieved national renown as the woman behind the historic Ledbetter vs. Goodyear employment discrimination case, and President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay Restoration Act. In Grace and Grit, she recounts her full life story, delineating how her past experiences shaped her eventual embrace of activism. Born in the small town of Possum Trot, Alabama, Ledbetter’s childhood was marked by poverty; she grew up in a house with no running water or electricity. Determined to overcome the limits of her upbringing, in 1979 Ledbetter applied for and got a coveted job at the Goodyear tire factory, becoming one of the first women hired at the management level. Ledbetter relates here the full scope of the bias and sexual harassment she experienced as an employee at Goodyear–culminating in her receiving an anonymous note, nineteen years after her first day at Goodyear, stating that she was earning thousands of dollars less per year than the men in positions equal to hers. Ledbetter filed a sex-discrimination case against Goodyear, and won–only to lose on appeal.
Over the next eight years, her case wended its way through several appeals, only to be dismissed on a technicality by the Supreme Court. Despite this loss, she became the namesake of President Obama’s first official piece of legislation as president. Grace and Grit is the story of one person's transformation into an activist, who questioned the limits of her own personal circumstances to effect significant change on a national level, as well as a commentary on lingering gender inequality in US corporate culture.
“Inspiring….Frank and feisty.” -Kirkus
“A riveting and inspiring story of a true American hero from Possum Trot, Alabama, who in her own compelling voice tells the story of how she broke down barriers throughout her life, and in the process gave all women in this country the right to get equal pay. A must read.”
—Marcia Greenberger, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center