News & Opinions: Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

From:, 6/1/09:

Only 3 more states…

By c4women

It would only take 3 more states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. What great news right? But it appears that it may be harder to accomplish than getting the first 33! Check out this awesome piece that was in the Philadelphia Inquirer last month.

ERA would end women’s second-class citizenship
Only three more states are needed to declare gender bias unconstitutional.

Carolyn Cook
is the Washington representative for the ERA Campaign Network

When our forefathers broke from Britain, they left nothing to chance. They put it in writing.

In unified thought, spirit, and action, the Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 white, male landowners representing 13 colonies. Hardly reflective of America today, it formally challenged the notion of the “divine right of kings” and guaranteed wealthy men equal rights.

The Declaration of Independence provides the rationale through which the U.S. Constitution is interpreted. Therefore, the Supreme Court renders its judgments based on a legal precedent established 239 years ago of equality among men only!

With only one justice and one quarter of judges in state courts female, the odds are not in our favor. Furthermore, without the explicit wording and intention of women’s rights documented in the principles of our government, women remain second-class citizens until we unite and declare otherwise.

Justice Antonin Scalia affirms this stark reality. “When a practice not explicitly prohibited by the text of the Bill of Rights bears the endorsement of a long tradition of open, widespread, and unchallenged use, that dates back to the beginning of the Republic, we have no proper basis for striking it down,” he wrote.

More than two dozen amendments to the Constitution have granted critical civil and political rights. Steadily, our cultural landscape transformed from horrific human rights violations to electing the first Catholic and African American male presidents. Stunning triumphs, and yet our moral compass must not ignore the double standard that remains – gender discrimination.

Without a uniform guarantee of equality across 50 states, there is no assurance of women’s progress. The stopgap of laws arbitrarily sprinkled throughout the states, subjectively interpreted by courts and subject to being overturned by a single vote, has failed us. Unwise “investors” bank on the security and protection of state laws, assuming these measures are sufficient. They build castles made of sand that the changing tides in legislatures can sweep away without a trace.

Verbal, sexual, and physical assaults have become commonplace; advertising exploits our bodies and limits our self-concept; wage disparity and insufficient family support persist in employment; and caregivers are not yet eligible for Social Security.

The omission of women in the U.S. Constitution has had far-reaching consequences for far too long. The time to take action is now.

The Equal Rights Amendment updates America’s original social contract. It calls upon the U.S. government to modernize its structures, laws, and policies to reflect the progress and contributions of the other half of its taxpaying citizens.

Just three more states are needed to ratify the ERA as the 28th Amendment. Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida (2009), and Virginia (2010) are attempting to officially declare men and women equal stakeholders in America’s future. With an economy to recover, international relations to mend, and corruption to end, all hands must be joined in this effort.

ERA simply states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

The ERA invests in women’s social progress – offering them the dignity and respect they are entitled to as individuals and citizens of this democracy. It is high time our government declare gender discrimination unconstitutional as it has nobly done with race. With a uniform guarantee of equality upheld in all 50 states, women’s progress at home, at work, and in their communities will be measured and protected by the full extent of the law.

This entry was posted on May 19, 2009 at 9:03 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Something to think about and consider

"Our current rights are limited to laws and amendments to laws that can be overturned in a legislative session or by executive order.

Our rights are tentative at best and can turn on the dime of public opinion or a state legislature dominated by one ideology.

It is time to bring women to the table with equal rights under the Constitution. It’s time, and that is what I thought about when I voted on Nov. 4. For more information go to"

Jennet Robinson Alterman is executive director of the Center for Women in Charleston, S.C.

American Women,

Contact your U.S. Legislators and let them know you want them to pass the Equal Rights Amendment!



Civil Rights History: Senate Passes the Equal Rights Amendment

March 20, 2009 – Posted by Isha Mehmood

This Sunday, March 22, is the anniversary of the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a constitutional amendment that would have ensured equal rights could not be denied on the basis of gender.

Though the amendment was passed by Congress in 1972, it was not ratified by enough states by its July 1982 deadline. Amendments to the Constitution are proposed by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses in Congress and then require ratification, or approval, by three-fourths of the states.

The ERA was written by Alice Paul, a women’s rights activist who was instrumental in the 1920 ratification of the 19th amendment, which guaranteed women’s right to vote. The ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923, and has been re-introduced in nearly every session of Congress since then.

Alice Paul’s home in Washington D.C. has been the headquarters of the National Women’s Party for decades and also the Sewell-Belmont House and Museum, the only museum in the nation’s capitol that focuses on women’s struggle for full equality.

The museum has a large collection of artifacts from the women’s movement, including a searchable online database.  It provides tours and is open to the public five days a week.

Categories: Civil Rights History, Women’s Rights

First Lady Betty Ford

From:, 6/1/09:

First lady Elizabeth "Betty" Ford stepped into the office of first lady as an ardent feminist who spoke her mind on often controversial issues. In 1972, when the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed in the Senate, many women worked to try to get the required thirty-eight states to pass the amendment within the allotted seven years. After supporting ERA as the wife of a congressman, Betty Ford moved to the forefront of this movement when she became first lady in 1974. She gave speeches, contacted state legislators, and influenced her husband, President Gerald Ford, to proclaim "Woman’s Equality Day" in support of the ERA. She was known for "working the phones"-calling state legislators from the White House to encourage them to vote for the amendment. She once said, "Being ladylike does not require silence." Although her husband did not share all her views, she voiced her opinion on a range of issues, from premarital sex to abortion. In November 1981, when the National Organization for Women (NOW) organized a series of rallies in support of the ERA, former first lady Betty Ford was among the notable speakers. Time ran out in 1982, and the ERA failed to become law.


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