National Now Foundation Times  >> Fall 2007 >> Training and Empowering Young Feminists

Training and Empowering Young Feminists, Passing Fair Pay: A NOW Foundation Intern Perspective

By Taryn Kloster, NOW Foundation Intern

NOW Foundation Intern Taryn Kloster at American University explaining the risks of breast implants to students.
NOW staff photo by Holly Manning
NOW Foundation Intern Taryn Kloster at American University explaining the risks of breast implants to students.

NOW and the NOW Foundation continue to mentor young feminists like myself through empowering us and giving us the tools to be effective activists on current and important issues.

While working as the government relations intern with the NOW Foundation, I have felt very blessed to be able to work with such talented and dedicated activists.

Over the past few months, the NOW Foundation has given me opportunities and experiences that are vital to my future feminist aspirations and goals, and has given me the tools that I need to realize them.

One of these experiences was explaining to senators why women need the Fair Pay Restoration Act (S. 1843) to undo the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Supreme Court decision (5-4), which held that the 180 day limit for filing a pay discrimination claim should be calculated from the day a pay decision was first made.

That pay action could have been months or years earlier, and the woman would be prevented from suing even if she didn't know until recently that she had been paid less.

A jury had found that Lilly Ledbetter was unfairly paid less than her male colleagues for many years, entitling her to back pay or damages, but the jury was overruled.

This decision has eroded protections that women throughout the U.S., including myself, have counted on to protect us against pay discrimination. It is of the utmost importance to me and all other young women precisely because we will experience the aftermath of this decision for years unless corrective legislation is enacted.

NOW Foundation gave me the opportunity to speak out against this Supreme Court decision by educating me on the issue, demonstrating how to lobby, and then letting me lobby on my own. I talked with senators' staff members who were genuinely interested in the information I offered, and I even met Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who later co-sponsored the Fair Pay Restoration Act.

I am very grateful that NOW and the NOW Foundation have helped me to become a future force to make the world a better place for women. They have given me the tools to be the best activist that I can be, and for that I am very thankful.

I would encourage all allies and supporters to apply for the internship program, which places activists in the heart of Washington, D.C., and provides innumerable opportunities to work for women's rights.