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Lilly Ledbetter, Pay Equity Pioneer, Will Speak at Free Women's Studies Conference

-- Her Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit Led to the Fair Pay Act of 2009 Named After Her --

WHAT: Queens College's annual Virginia Frese Palmer Women's Conference held during Women’s History Month. Free and open to the public, the 2010 conference “Gender in the Workplace” will focus on such issues as the history of women in the labor force, including such fields as journalism and domestic service; pay equity; and the global exploitation of women.

WHEN: 9 am –1 pm: Panel Discussion
1 - 2 pm: Complimentary Lunch:
              RSVP: or

WHERE: 4th floor: Student Union: Queens College
For directions, visit

WHO: Keynote speaker: Lilly Ledbetter is a leader in the struggle for fair pay for women. Paid significantly less than her male counterparts for years at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Alabama, Ledbetter filed a lawsuit against her employer which she ultimately lost. In January 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law – his first piece of legislation after taking office – which helps ensure that workers discriminated against on the basis of gender have a fair chance to sue their employers.

Panelists: Lara Vapnek: Assistant Professor of History at St. John’s University, she specializes in the history of gender, labor and social movements in late 19th /early 20th century America. Her recent book, Breadwinners: Working Women and Economic Indpendce, 1865-1920, examines wage-earning women’s campaigns to assert new, independent identities as workers and citizens.

Sheryl McCarthy is a distinguished lecturer in Journalism at Queens College and the host of “One to One,” a public affairs talk show on CUNY-TV. For 18 years she was a columnist at Newsday, as well as contributing columnist to USA Today, reporter for the Daily News and correspondent for ABC-TV News. Her columns have covered a wide range of social and political issues, including race and gender, social policies towards the poor, the vagaries of the criminal justice system, education, politics and foreign policy.

Carmella Marrone: Founder and Executive Director of Queens College’s Women and Work Program, a free job and life skills training program, many of whose participants are survivors of domestic violence. A community activist for social justice for women, Marrone lectures and teaches courses on domestic violence at QC and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has just launched a project in which QC students will be trained to speak about domestic violence at community centers, schools and places of worship.

Patricia Francois is a domestic worker from Trinidad and a member of the Domestic Workers United, an organization of nannies, housekeepers and caregivers who work for fair labor standards and to help build a movement for social change. Her story of alleged physical abuse by her employer made headlines last year in the New York media.

Hester Eisenstein: Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, she has also taught at Yale, Barnard College and the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has been a “femocrat” in Australia and an advocate in developing women’s studies as a college discipline. Her most recent book, Feminism Seduced: How Global Elites Use Woman’s Labor and Ideas to Exploit the World, is a critical analysis of the history of the international women’s movement.

Janet Gornick: Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), a cross-national data archive and research center. Her research focuses on the effects of social policies on the economic well-being of families and on gender equality in the labor market. She has published numerous articles and books on work-family policies, including Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Work and Family, which she co-authored with Marcia Meyers.


The Virginia Frese Palmer Conference, named for one of Queens College’s supporters of the Women’s Studies program, was established in 2002 as an annual conference to address some of the key issues and problems facing today’s women. Previous conference topics have included "Women and Economics: The Global Picture"; "Is Gender Still a Sexy Topic?"; "Women and Violence"; "Feminism and Multiculturalism”; "Women and the Iraq War”; “Female Image Makers;” “Women and Sports;” and “Women and Civil Rights."


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Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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