Background


WE STILL NEED THE ERA.  Over 90% of Americans agree that the Constitution should guarantee equal rights regardless of gender. Over 70% of Americans believe it already does. IT DOES NOT!

That’s right! Gains in women’s rights — the right to own property, the right to work, the right to an education, the right to participate in sports — have been made through policies and legislation, which can be repealed. Women’s only explicitly stated right in the Constitution is the right to vote.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) 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 will create a permanent, uniform, and national standard for eliminating sex discrimination by government at all levels and would raise the level of judicial review for gender discrimination to match that for discrimination based on race and religion. Without this guarantee, women in the U.S. do not have Constitutional equality. Laws furthering women’s rights, such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, can be repealed by a simple majority vote in Congress.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, which looks at economic, education, health, and political equity measures, the United States ranks 51st out of 149 countries in gender equity.

As of two years ago, America has dropped out of the top 1/3 of countries, as ranked by gender equality! 

Every major, written constitution in the world (France, Germany, Canada, etc.) explicitly guarantees gender equality, except ours.

American women have been working to add gender equality to our Constitution for nearly 100 years. In 1943, Alice Paul appended six new words, “Equality of rights under the law,” to the end of the Nineteenth Amendment, “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” Alice built on the wording already in the Constitution. She simply expanded from the right to vote to equality of all rights, under the law.

In 1972, Congress finally passed the Equal Rights Amendment and set a 7-year ratification deadline, later extended to 10 years. In 1982, 35 states had ratified the ERA, just 3 states short of the required 3/4 of states.

Although the deadline passed, the Equal Rights Amendment lives on! On March 22, 2017, 45 years to the day after Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify. On May 30, 2018, Illinois became the 37th. Virginia is considered the next most likely state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

After the 38th state ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment, it will be added to the Constitution via one of two paths:

1. Judiciary branch: Article V does not provide for an amendment deadline and a fully ratified amendment has never been kept out of the Constitution.

2. Legislative branch: Because the deadline is not in the Amendment language itself, Congress can remove or extend the deadline, as it did once prior on October 20, 1978. There are currently bipartisan resolutions in both the U.S. House and Senate to remove the deadline.