What Will It Take to Pass the Equal Rights Amendment?

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The Prowler.

In our modern world, feminism is widely opposed for being too “extreme,” and even “irrelevant” by a culture that declares that women already have equal rights and regards feminism as a sort of radical trend followed by those in favor of female superiority, rather than equality.

However, this opposition reflects more than just a difference of opinion; it reflects an uninformed public. Nowhere in the Constitution, as it currently stands, is there an explicit statement of legal protection of women’s rights as a whole, or a guarantee of equality between genders under US law.

Therefore, women in America still have not achieved full, fundamental equal rights across the board. This should be alarming and angering to any defender of democracy.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), ratified by 37 of the United States, was first introduced in 1923 by suffragist and political activist Alice Paul (1885-1977). In its most simplified terms, the ERA calls for constitutionally protected equality between genders in America, originally stating that “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.”

After being rewritten, the ERA now reads: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Nearly one hundred years after its initial proposal, the Equal Rights Amendment has still not been added to our country’s Constitution. In order to be added, the proposed amendment needs approval from legislatures in three-fourths (or 38) of the 50 states.

Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia all have not ratified the ERA. Similarly, five states have previously voted (against their Constitutional powers) to rescind or withdraw their ratification of the ERA: Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky, and South Dakota. 

Much political and social attention turned away from the women’s rights movement following the addition of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, to our Constitution in 1920.

While this was a monumental step forward in terms of the slow historical advancement of feminism, granting women the right to vote fell far short of  ensuring their equal rights and treatment in society.