Holy Act of Congress, Batman! Equal Pay for Equal Work!
This post is by Heidi Holmstrom. Heidi works in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives.
Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In commemoration, we are posting this 1973 Public Service Announcement (PSA) in which Batgirl explains the concept of “equal pay for equal work” to her boss (Batman) and co-worker (Robin).
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was the first piece of legislation signed by President Barack Obama. It updated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sex when determining pay for employees doing the same work.
The 2009 Act resets the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal pay lawsuit each time a paycheck reflecting a discriminatory pay decision is issued. It was named for Lilly Ledbetter, whose equal-pay suit against her employer was dismissed by the Supreme Court because she had not filed it within 180 days of the discriminatory pay decision. Ledbetter says she was not aware of the pay discrepancy during that window of time.
It’s no joke–Batgirl was paid less than Robin for the same work. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 guarantees fair pay.
Pow! Zap! A Special Bonus PSA!
You may have noticed that the Batman featured in the above PSA was not played by Adam West. In order to satisfy all the Adam West fans out there, we are including a bonus Batman PSA from 1966. Here, the familiar Caped Crusader asks schoolchildren to buy war bonds to help support the troops in Vietnam.