The Equal Rights Amendment

March 22, 1972 – The Equal Right Amendment (ERA) passes Congress. 

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” 

This seemingly innocuous 24 word sentence would become a passionately debated Amendment to our Constitution.  Although the 19th Amendment, passed in 1920, guaranteed women the right to vote, Alice Paul penned the initial draft in 1923.  It was argued that women would need additional guarantees that they would have equal treatment under the law.  For almost 50 years the matter was debated by both parties and lived and died in Congress several times.  In 1970, The National Organization for Woman stepped up the campaign and the resolution was passed by Congress but would need to be ratified by the States.  Initially, ratification was swift with 30 states approving.  But opposition mounted and by 1979 35 of the necessary 38 states had approved the Amendment. Political maneuvering has attempted to keep alive the Amendment which remains unratified to this day.

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Filed under 1970s, Feminism, Politics

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