The Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment

A Message from Anne Hoiberg,
President of the Women’s Museum of California

It is time to add, finally, the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a proposed 28th amendment. The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, stands as the only women-specific amendment in the U.S. Constitution, dating back to 1920. A second women-specific amendment, the ERA, was written by attorney and suffragist, Alice Paul in 1923.

Although introduced in each congressional session over the years, the ERA was not passed by Congress until 1972, after which it was sent to the states for ratification. Thirty-five states supported ratification, but 38 states in favor were needed for adoption to the Constitution.
If women had been protected with the ERA in our Constitution, court cases of domestic violence, unequal pay, sex discrimination, and reproductive rights would have been easier to defend. Others claim that we have our rights protected, but we do not have our rights guaranteed, to paraphrase ERA author Alice Paul. We need the ERA for that reason. Would such U.S. Supreme Court decisions as equal pay, Hobby Lobby, violence against women, or Walmart have had a different conclusion with the ERA in our Constitution?

The ERA continues to be introduced in each opening session of Congress. Lobbying is needed to have Congress consider supporting one of two strategies:
1) the “three-state” bill requiring only three more states to ratify, joining the 35 states that ratified prior to 1982 and
2) to begin afresh with the “Fresh Start Strategy,” that would require 38 states to ratify the ERA, including the original 35 states.
It is time to guarantee our rights. Ratify the ERA!

Why has it taken so long to address such an important issue that concerns half of the country’s voting public? Across the aisle, and across the country, our representatives in the House and the Senate need to push the Equal Rights Amendment through!


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