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Support The Equal Rights Amendment

Support The Equal Rights Amendment

Even though many in the media lauded 2008 as the year of the woman in national politics, according to the World Economic Forum, the United States ranks 69th out of 128 countries in terms of female political empowerment, 70th in terms of wage equality for similar work, and 71st in Congressional representation.  Armed with these numbers, and a renewed focus for final ratification, last week Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment for ratification. 

The history of the ERA perplexes many women’s rights advocates.  On March 22, 1972 the ERA passed the Senate and the House and was sent to the states for ratification.  The Amendment originally contained a seven-year deadline for the states to ratify it before it would officially become part of the Constitution.  Initial ratification efforts fell short, and this deadline was later extended to June 30, 1982.  This deadline expired with 35 of the required 38 states ratifying the Amendment. 

As it stands the ERA remains just three states shy of ratification.  Rep. Maloney’s bill proposes no deadline on the ratification process.  Working closely with Senator Edward Kennedy (D-NY), many see now as an opportune time to re-ignite the battle. 

The statistics from the World Economic Forum, current civil rights jurisprudence, and a push for Equal Pay legislation all make it clear that despite making inroads into corporate and political leadership, women still face widespread, systemic, and pervasive inequality in treatment.  As it stands right now, the prohibition on sex discrimination falls under a myriad of federal laws, none of which provides any comprehensive legal framework of protection.  Even the presence of the 14th Amendment does little to protect from sex discrimination as it does race discrimination since the Supreme Court has refused to evaluate sex discrimination claims under a “strict scrutiny” analysis that the 14th Amendment requires for other classifications, such as race, religion, and national origin.  The ERA would require that  courts treat sex discrimination the same way they do race, religion, and national origin discrimination- nothing more, nothing less.

Currently 22 states provide for equal rights on the basis of sex in their state constitutions.  Of those 22 states Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Utah, and Virginia have not ratified the federal ERA.  Women’s rights advocates are advancing efforts for ratification in those states as part of their push for final ratification.  If you live in one of the states that offer state protections but have failed to ratify the federal amendment, contact your lawmakers and insist they consider passage.  If we truly want to empower families then we need to make sure that our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, and our wives have the opportunity to compete honestly.  The Equal Rights Amendment creates that opportunity.

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photo courtesy of dbking via Flickr

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12 comments

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12:43PM PDT on Jul 29, 2009

I am equal to everyone. I am no better or worse than anyone else. I can do whatever anyone else can do if I want to do it. I really don't need a law to tell me that but sadly a lot of people do.

6:38PM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

"And so are the "good ole boys" and the "good old times," right Jeffrey, if you have your way?"

What is my way? I fully support everybody's efforts to do whatever their abilities and drive enable them to do. I have no problem with successful women, It's the failures who blame their predicament on imaginary sexism rather than their own shortcomings whom I oppose.

The ERA is an anochronism that lives on only in the minds of those who need an excuse. I don't encounter many successful women who think it is much of a priority.

10:58AM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

"Maybe the solution is to copy VAWA and replace the gender references to MEN instead of women. Then let the laws run parallel." - C. Fowler

The solution for men and women alike, in all such questions, is this: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

It does not say "on account of the sex of women" or "on account of the sex of men". It means, and would be legally taken to mean, Equality for All, in all instances.

If you can find something WRONG in that, then you have a very warped perspective, indeed.

10:40AM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

Hi all, It would be good to have a quick-link for petition signing with the article...if there is a petition...and, this is culture defining piece of the amerikan nightmare still so foolishly in limbo, OMG. Shouldn't be necessary BUT IT IS. Jack.

10:28AM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

It's sad to see the guys who constantly look for women's issues and blogs to post their claims of "maletocracy". Why are we feminazis when we ask for our rights? Why didn't John Adams pay attention to his wife when she asked him not to forget the women while drafting the Constitution? Why have we forced every country we've beatten in wars to include women's rights in their constitutions and it's not in ours? Why do men like Randall Terry go after our reproductive rights and we do not force them to have vasectomies? Where's the fairness? Where's the logic? A national survey a couple of years ago found 96% of the U.S. favored the ERA so why do we pay attention to the 4%? because they are our state legislators who refuse to listen. I know I work on the passage in Virginia.

8:25AM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

If we are not giving "Equal Rights" to women, then how does anyone expect for instance, Iran and the covering of women, the second class citizens of the world that they are treated as......take a hard look at us?
Do you smell a similiarity in the U.S.?
The only thing we are not doing is covering our heads and wearing a sign that says "Kick my ass, I am a second class citizen!"
We must all demand our rights as women from our State and government, or else we had better shut our mouths when it comes to abuse of others in other lands!

7:53AM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

i remember back when the era was being tested and failed to pass all states. what a shame since equality is our legal right under the law. now is the time for a federal law. women are helping to run our country and our secretary of state has high status world wide being accepted by all countries of the world. let's show the world we are equal, fair and just.

jeanne simonoff, santa fe, new mexico

7:38AM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

Equal rights is the ideal, but most of the laws created under politically correct feminism have all done exactly the opposite of equality.
Laws like VAWA are redundant, since there are laws against murder, rape, gender discrimination and assault. Feminism driven laws are the same as taking mens' rights away and replacing them with women's rights. Ask any man that has been assaulted by his wife/girlfriend; the police tell HIM to leave his home, not her to leave. Sit in divorce court sometime; a person's merit as a parent is based on which one is the woman, not on which one is the better parent.
Equality is only equality when it is equal, not subjective.
Our current "equality" laws, based on gender, are the exact opposite of equal.
Laws like the Violence Against WOMEN Act, does nothing to provide equal protection of men (who are the smaller percentage of spousal abusers these days, in domestic violence cases). VAWA provides shelters for women, but no such places exist for men.
Maybe the solution is to copy VAWA and replace the gender references to MEN instead of women. Then let the laws run parallel.
The feminist view of the world is stilted and wildly innacurate, based in 1960's outdated statistics.
Like I said before, Equality is only equality when it is equal, not subjective.
Equality existed before the feminazis. It just wasn't enforced. Now the feminazis make the rules and we pay for the crimes of our fathers.

4:39AM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

And so are the "good ole boys" and the "good old times," right Jeffrey, if you have your way?

4:06AM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it."
Malcolm X, 1965... substitute woman, please...

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