PC Jean Sweeney Founder & CEO of Rethinking Eve
Again we sit at a crossroads. The last state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”) was Indiana in 1977. Today, March 22, 2017, Nevada which has 40% women legislators, has just become the 36th State to ratify the ERA which says:
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex”
To create a democracy for all we must have a Constitution that includes women. The truth is that our Constitution was written for white men and amended for black men in 1870. White women got the vote in 1920, and black women not until 1965, but neither got any other Constitutional rights or privileges.
Prior to 1940, one in eight women in the United States died in childbirth. By 1965, six and a half million American women were on the pill. Ability to choose the number and spacing of children gave multitudes of women the time to focus on human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural and civil parts of society. Because of these developments women were finally able to fight for equal protection under the law. The ERA was the cornerstone of the women's rights movement.
With no protection from domestic violence or marital rape, women asked how they could influence the concept of the Four Freedoms: Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Worship.
In 1972, the ERA passed in both chambers of Congress and was sent to the 50 states for ratification. 35 states ratified the ERA, three states short of the 38 needed before the 1982 deadline.
The truth is that US women will never achieve equal pay, equal opportunity to compete for economic parity, or the substantial reduction in the pervasiveness of domestic violence, rape, pregnancy discrimination or sexual harassment without ratification of the ERA.
Of the remaining 14 unratified states, two more states must ratify for the ERA to meet the 38-state requirement specified in the US Constitution.
The 14 states failing to ratify the ERA include: Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.
Please check if you are living in a state that has not yet ratified. Residents in the unratified states need to demand that their legislators put the ERA front and center of the legislative agendas!!
In addition everyone needs to contact their lawmakers on Capitol Hill and speak up for urgent action on removing the unjust ratification deadline. (H. J. Res. 53 & S.J. Res. 5)
It is time for the United States to empower all of its citizens as equals with the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Visit ERAAction.org for an overview and updates on ERA legislation.
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