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My husband, Dan and I do the same job. We assist organizations and companies with the implementation of software called SAP. We are both well trained (thanks to the U.S. Army) and I'd like to believe very good at what we do. Often the small business that Dan and I started earns recognition for the work we provide.

Dan and I have the same background often working on the same client sites and we both have Bachelor'€™s degrees in Business Administration. There is one distinguishing entry on our resumes that sets Dan and me apart. I have finished my Master'€™s in Project Management while he is still working toward his.

When competing for work or considering taking on independent contracting projects, it surprises me when he is offered a higher salary for the same work than I am. By all accounts I should be offered a higher salary because I have a higher educational degree or we should at least be offered the same amount – -  but this isn'€™t the case. It is frustrating for me on many levels. I have put in a lot of time and effort to achieve my education, while working full-time, and raising two children.

When Dan and I served together in the military and we were promoted to Specialist E-4, we were paid the same for the work we did. We all worked hard to accomplish our missions. He didn't make more just because he is a man and I didn't make less because I am a woman (who says the military isn'€™t a proving ground for the advancement of social issues?).  Then we move into civilian life.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act  - signed into law on January 30, 2009  bolsters our equal rights and is one important step in providing workers a fighting chance to combat wage discrimination and a fair economy both on the macro and micro levels.

Economic fairness is when we all get chance at living the American dream. That includes being paid what you are worth no matter your gender or race.  As a nation we can support the advancement of that ideal by continuing to support our American-Made programs like Head Start, Food Stamps, National Free Lunch, and the Pell Grant so no matter who you are or your station in life, you are given the opportunity for a fair shot. It is what sets us apart in the world.

It's because of those American-Made programs that I was given that a fair shot.€ I just provided the drive and determination. Measures like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ensures that the investment partnership made by country and me can be realized to its fullest potential.

As President Obama said in the State of the Union "A return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help us protect our people and our economy."

These are values I proudly teach my daughter AND my son.

This diary is cross-posted at The Intersection on Strader for Congress.

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