- October 2019
The one that’s meant to give women legal equal rights constitutionally?
Yeah, that’s the one.
Well, most people think the ERA passed back in the early 1970’s – back when feminism was in a steady rise and a huge push went towards the ERA. Well, here’s the crazy thing. The ERA NEVER passed! Yep, it’s worth repeating. It’s 2019 and women still do not have legal equal rights according to the US Constitution.
How did this happen?
In 1921 the amendment first got introduced in congress. In 1971, it got approved by the House and in 1972 it was approved by the Senate. From there it moved on to state legislatures for ratification with a deadline of March 22, 1979. By 1977 the ERA had 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications and bipartisan support.
But then a very funny thing happened.
A conservative group of women, spearheaded by Phyllis Schlafly, stepped in and created a campaign opposing the ERA. They argued the amendment would create problems for housewives, drafting women into the military and taking away alimony. Their campaign was so effective that fives states revoked their ERA ratifications and ultimately the ERA never received the necessary 38 states to pass.
But the ERA is not dead… There are advocates and activists still working to get it ratified, as you can see at the website here (https://www.equalrightsamendment.org/ )
In the era of #TimesUp it’s interesting that the issue of women having legal equal rights is not discussed more. And how is it that most people, including hardcore feminists, think the ERA was passed over forty years ago? What else might this mean for rights we take for granted or for institutions that haven’t ben challenged because we’re all just a little too comfortable? What do you want to see change in your lifetime and how can you personally help move the dial? After all, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for and committed citizens are the driving force of progress.