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Abigail Lemay, NOW and ACLU Activist at Stetson, Wins National Undergraduate Social Action Award

| March 22, 2011

Abigail Lemay stestson university national Undergraduate Social Action Award

Abigail Lemay (Stetson)

Stetson University senior Abigail Lemay has won a national Undergraduate Social Action Award from the Sociologists for Women in Society for her activism related to pay equity for women.

This is the second year in a row a Stetson student has received this national honor. Florencia Abelenda, who graduated in 2010, was honored last year for her research into youth needs in the small town of Pierson, Fla. Also selected for this year’s award were Stephanie Elwood of Louisiana State University and Jess Acosta of Colby College in Maine.

In winning the award, Lemay was able to attend the SWS Winter Meeting in Texas earlier this semester. There, she had a chance to talk with Betsy Lucal, an expert in the sociology of gender and sexualities. Lucal spoke at Stetson last year. Lemay also joined the organization’s Social Action Committee.

“Most of the members of the organization are sociologists, mostly at colleges, and it was good to see professionals at work,” Lemay said. “I was very honored, but even more than winning the award is that it is a good motivation for me, personally, to continue what I’m doing.”

Lemay, a Cranston, R.I., senior majoring in sociology and American studies and minoring in Gender Studies, re-founded Stetson’s chapter of the National Organization for Women in fall 2009. She first heard about the unfair pay gap between women and men while taking a Stetson course. She studied it more on her own, and through NOW and other Stetson organizations, she organized an Equal Pay Day event involving downtown DeLand businesses last April.

“In the United States, women earn only about 77 to 80 percent of their male coworkers’ salaries,” said Lemay, president of Stetson’s NOW chapter. “This takes into account men and women having the same educational background and work experience. It’s a national phenomenon and, while women’s salaries are slowly becoming closer to men’s, the issue persists. We want to call attention to the wage gap and work to eliminate it.”

Lemay is also working on the equal pay issue as one of 10 college women in the United States serving on the National Student Advisory Council for the American Association of University Women.

In 2010, she was named Stetson’s Social Justice Advocate of the Year, and she won first place in the West Volusia NOW’s essay contest for her paper on the “Status of Women in Iraq since the Invasion” (in 2003).

She was producer of Stetson’s student production of Even Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” in 2010 and 2011 and serves on both the Gender Equity Council and the Women and Gender Studies Committee. A contributing writer to the student newspaper, The Reporter, Lemay was also co-founder of the university’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter in November.

After graduation in May, Lemay plans to attend graduate school in women and gender studies at the University of South Florida.

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5 Responses for “Abigail Lemay, NOW and ACLU Activist at Stetson, Wins National Undergraduate Social Action Award”

  1. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Makes sense. She’s got the smirk down pat.

  2. MaleMatters says:

    I wonder if Abigail Lemay ever read a view on pay equity such as this:

    Lemay and other pay-equity advocates support any legislation to close the gender wage gap because of one overarching belief: that employers everywhere pay men more than women for the same work.

    Yet these same advocates no doubt also support the Age Discrimination In Employment Act. Without it, they may argue, employers, who the advocates rightly say always seek the cheapest labor possible, would replace their older employees with younger ones who will accept lower wages in the same jobs. But the advocates must think employers suddenly don’t care about cheap labor when it comes to paying men more than women in the same jobs. In sum, the advocates believe employers would replace older workers with younger ones to save money, but will not replace men with women to save money.

    Consider the choices made by BOTH sexes:

    Despite the 40-year-old demand for women’s equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Women,” stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. “In the past few years,” he says in a CNN August 2008 report at, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier….” at This may or may not reflect a higher percentage of women staying at home than in the previous decade. But if the percentage is higher, perhaps it’s because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs, and so why bother working if they’re going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman.)

    As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Because they’re supported by their husband.

    Both feminists and the media miss — or ignore — what this obviously implies: If millions of wives can accept no wages and live as well as their husbands, millions of other wives can accept low wages, refuse overtime and promotions, take more unpaid days off, avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining ( — all of which lower women’s average pay. They can do this because they are supported by a husband who must earn more than if he’d chosen never to marry. (Still, even many men who shun marriage, unlike women, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap. If the roles were reversed so that men raised the children and women raised the income, men would average lower pay than women.

    See “A Response to the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” at

    By the way, the next Equal Occupational Fatality Day is in 2020. The year 2020 is how far into the future women will have to work to experience the same number of work-related deaths that men experienced in 2009 alone.

  3. PC MAN says:

    Leave it to the teabagging small penis FOX watchers to be threatened by a young women winning an award.

  4. Outsider says:

    Let’s see; an opposing point of view is met with mindless, child-like name calling devoid of any facts. Awesome!

  5. Cass says:

    Abby was my best friend growing up, and trust me, she knows what she’s talking about! She is smart and gives a damn about things.

    You can use all the fancy jargon you want, and twist yourself into a pretzel, but I can tell you, that any one person who is paid less for the same work for any reason, should not have to live like that.

    You shouldnt fire or pay less someone who might get cancer and die because they smoke, because it’s not right to make someone live less well or less sucessfully because of an assumption you make that may not turn out to be true. Why do the same to women?

    This happened with blacks, now it’s happening with women, and let’s hope it keeps going further. This is not a case of feminism or black rights, it is a case for giving people what they earn.

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