You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Finally.
In case you missed it, women don’t have equal rights in this country.
The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in 1923 — three years after the 19th Amendment gave women the vote. Early women’s rights activists knew that the vote was just the beginning. Real equality was more than just dropping a ballot in the box. They sought to add “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 the Constitution to enshrine full quality of the sexes into our founding document.
Congress finally passed the ERA in 1972 and 35 states ratified it — three states short of the constitutional requirement. The ERA has ben reintroduced in every legislative session since it stalled in 1982 — when the time to ratify expired, but it continually fails to garner support. This is in part because a generation after the campaign to adopt the ERA, most Americans assume the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment or the right to vote in the 19th automatically dissolved any disparities between cis men and everyone else.
In her statement of support for the renewed effort to ratify the ERA, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier said:
“The time is ripe to ratify the equal rights amendment. Seventy percent of people polled think that we already have an ERA in the Constitution and they’re shocked to find we don’t have one.”
She’s backed up by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who has said: "If I could choose an amendment to add to this Constitution, it would be the Equal Rights Amendment.”
The Equal Rights Amendment Coalition is taking RBG’s words to heart. If women are to be equal in stature before the law, we need a guarantee that can’t be repealed — an amendment to the Constitution rather than just a piece of legislation subject to the whims of Congress.
Supporting this common sense and long overdue amendment is as easy as signing the petition at MoveOn.Org and visiting ERACoalition.org where you can take the pledge to support the ERA and send a message your legislators asking them to become supporters of equality.
You can also keep an eye out for the upcoming documentary "Equal Means Equal” which depicts the modern day disparities for women in every area from reproductive rights to paid family leave to equal pay and follow and use the hashtags #EqualMeansEqual and #ERANow.
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #938 "What are women complaining about? (Feminism)"
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich