Congresswoman Maloney Mourns the Passing of Women’s Rights Champion Betty Dukes

Jul 20, 2017
Press Release

New York, NY – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) mourns the death of Betty Dukes, the named plaintiff in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the Supreme Court case that limited the availability of class action status for plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases.  

“Betty Dukes became the face of 1.5 million women working at Wal-Mart who faced systematic discrimination in terms of pay and opportunities.  Despite anti-discrimination language in their corporate handbooks, managers at Wal-Mart were overwhelmingly male and women faced a significant pay gap.  Plaintiffs were able to demonstrate that women were 70% of the workforce but only 33% of the managers, that women were paid less in every region and that the pay gap widened over time for men and women hired at the same time.  Nonetheless, the Supreme Court refused to look at Wal-Mart employment practices company-wide and made it much harder for employees of large corporations to bring class action lawsuits.  By bringing her lawsuit, Betty Dukes helped reveal the critical need for an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to give women the tools to fight employment discrimination. It was an honor to join with her just a few months ago at an event supporting the ERA at Hunter College. She was fervent in her support for the ERA, and recognized its importance for women seeking to prevent and take measures against gaps in pay and opportunities.  Up until her last days, she continued the fight for equality.  We have lost a strong champion and a powerful voice for the cause of equal rights for women.”

Congresswoman Maloney is the lead House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, to enshrine women’s equal rights in the Constitution.