Earlier this week on Tuesday, July 21st, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and over 50 co-sponsors. The ERA would add a part in the US Constitution to say, “Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex”. For the bill’s full text, click here.
The ERA was originally introduced as the “Lucretia Mott Amendment” at the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls “Declaration of Sentiments,” which is regarded as the founding of the women’s rights movement in the U.S. In 1972 the ERA passed in Congress and was sent to the states for ratification. It was approved by 35 states but was never ratified because it fell just 3 states short of the 38 required for a constitutional amendment to be ratified.
Congresswoman Maloney said:
Women have made incredible progress in the past few decades. But laws can change, government regulations can be weakened, and judicial attitudes can shift. The only way for women to achieve permanent equality in the United States is to write it into the Constitution. These 54 words, when passed by Congress and ratified by 38 states, will make equal rights for women not just a goal to be desired but a constitutional right.
Rep. Biggert said:
Thanks to the work of pioneers like Lucretia Mott and Francis Willard, American women have achieved a level of independence and equality once thought to be unattainable. This amendment will carry on that tradition by forever enshrining the rights and freedoms of our daughters and granddaughters in the Constitution of the United States. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Maloney and my other colleagues in this historic effort, and look forward to working with them to protect the basic liberties of women here and around the world.
According to Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, citing research from the World Economic Forum, in comparison to other countries worldwide the US ranks 31st of 128 countries overall, but 76th in educational attainment, 36th in health and survival, 69th in political empowerment, and 70th for wage equality for similar work and 71st for representation of women in our Congress.
Many people do not know that the ERA was never passed. We need the ERA to pass in order to help women overcome deeply entrenched and systemic sex discrimination so that society as a whole can benefit.