Debate over Equal Rights Amendment

In Opinion
Photo courtesy of / National archives and photos
Photo courtesy of / National archives and photos

Written in 1923 and passed through Congress in 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment  failed to receive an adequate number of states to ratify the amendment, resulting in its demise.

But why did Congress choose to ignore women’s rights altogether?

There seems to be a large gap in the relevancy and importance that Congress places on the equal rights of women.

“The factors that lead to these gaps are well documented and complex, but some of this gap is simple sexism,” according to the Huffington Post.

Approximately 30 percent of women report facing discrimination in the workplace, oftentimes due to unfair wages between them and their male counterparts.

However, because these accusations require “strict scrutiny” by the government, it is often difficult for employees to support such claims.

Women, both present and future generations, need an Equal Rights Amendment to pass to ensure their protection against discrimination by the male population.

If an Equal Rights Amendment were to pass, women would have the written support of the Constitution. Instead of women having to prove that they were being discriminated against, violators of the amendment would face a harsher reality, having to prove their innocence.

The benefits of ratifying the amendment are fairly simple. By passing the Equal Rights Amendment, the government would not only open doors of opportunity for women in the country, but also open them all around the world.

It is not just about empowering women, it is about creating an equal playing field for all genders. It is the first step in creating an equal platform in a nation with an already progressive mindset.

Justice Antonin Scalia said the problem is the Constitution does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, but there are other ways besides an amendment to tackle the issue.

“If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws,” Scalia said.

Scalia’s comments were made after a debate over the definition of the 14th Amendment and whether or not its purpose was to secure women’s rights under the constitution—which it does not.

As the years go by, women will continue to face discrimination throughout their lives until someone or something finds an effective resolution to end this issue.

However, with a plethora of women’s rights groups, feminists and supporters, there may be a glimmer of hope afterall.

The National Organization for Women has proposed their own resolution to make contributions and back any political candidate who chooses to support the Equal Rights Amendment.

The incentive will not only boost candidate backing for Equal Rights Amendment, but may help its cause if the amendment passes through Congress once again.

“Today, women make up only 18 percent of Congress, with slim minority representation; we earn less, and we face the effects of sex based discrimination and gender violence in everything from immigration policy and education to healthcare and mass incarceration,” according to The Huffington Post.

The bottom line is women always have been and always will be discriminated against , no matter what the Constitution states.

The struggle for women to prove themselves in a male dominated society will never come to an end so for now, it is important for society to support and enact the Equal Rights Amendment for women in the future.

In today’s society, it would be rather unpatriotic to say we live in a free world when in reality we’re denying equal rights to half of society. With such a low statistic of women working in Congress and such a high rate of discrimination, the road to gender equality may still be years away.

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  • Sandy0

    Sarah, thank you for the encouragement of ERA passage. You may be happy to know that the ERA did not “meet its demise” due to 35 and not the required 38 states did ratify, and remains the ONLY way today to restrain sex discrimination, both genders. Women and girls constitute the majority of the American public and voters now, but we are still treated like we are somehow second-class citizens: we are not mentioned in the US Constitution (written somewhere around 1788?) though male Americans are, 39 times. If you aren’t written into a contract, you have no legal rights within that contract–all you can anticipate, we females, is any “magnanimous” gestures our mostly male rulers could decide to grant us. THIS is why we need ERA.

    Unaware of it, I have acted to bring about
    change for the Common Good in many areas, bringing new laws to the
    books. But passing the Equal Rights Amendment is my very last campaign
    for the Good of the People. Objections are Strong from ALEC-driven
    corporations and legislators, which are mostly Republican in the
    southern states; then there are those rogue Mormon states as well.

    We
    / I are like salmon swimming upstream in states that already said NO to
    ERA years ago and have taken a lot of lobbying, reason, and persistence
    and funds we raise from my small home’s garden sales. We are frugal.
    And we WILL DO THIS. ABSOLUTELY.

    Only thing standing in the way are 3 more states which did not ratify ERA. NO one has declared ERA “dead”, and indeed it is currently declared “viable and contemporaneous”. Because the reported “time limit” is inconsistently applied to US Constitutional amendments by various Congresses; because a time limit so applied may itself be unconstitutional, especially one that impacts the majority of the public; because Congress had already extended the time limit after several years; but mostly because the time limit is only located in the Amendment’s Proposing or Introductory clause with a lesser authority as the clause is not the section that is voted upon.

    Because these rationales are not naturally entertained by contemporary lawmakers, we of National ERA Alliance realized we must explain. So we 300 000 of the Alliance have co-authored a new ERA bill now before the US Congress that determines that when 3 more states ratify ERA, it passes into the US Constitution.

    I have spearheaded the Alliance as we mentor 6 states that routinely file ERA ratification bills, get our own ERA ratification bill before the Florida legislature every single year for going on 14 years and proceed to garner co-sponsors in Florida and for our US Congress bill.

    We just need to ratify 3 more states, so we help the other 6 states But with a focus on ratifying Florida.

    IN FACT, we believe after years of fighting down with our 4 pro bono legal teams the various flimsy, politically-motivated objections one by one, and now gaining the support of the 2 major legislative Influentials, IT IS LIKELY THAT FLORIDA WILL RATIFY EARLY IN 2014!! We 300 000 and our 7802 Active activists are drained and pretty exhausted, so we work our advocacy doubletime for the next 3 months! WE CANNOT DO ANY MORE THAN WE HAVE. So, our hopes are pinned on the Florida legislature. 2/3 Republicans who have so far dissed us, threatened us, and refused even to HEAR the ERA bill!

    But the climate may be changing. WE SURE HOPE SO. Sarah and interested others are invited to write us at [email protected]

    PS RE: bradberger’s narrow assessment below: We admire his tenacity for ERA, just that he tends to spread blame for its stalling on certain groups and over-simple solutions when it is really MUCH more complicated, as I’ve tried to discuss with him in the past though we are extremely welcoming of any constructive efforts to pass the ERA that he applies or shares with us.

    ANYone who has some interest in Justice for gender-equal TREATMENT, please write us/me at [email protected] and is invited to take a tour of 2PassERA.org, the most current , correct, and complete site for those of us “active in the trenches” aside from some academic types and others. Be assured, none of us are in this long and dangerous epic for ERA, advocating and working hard, for the $, status or power…we are in it Because we care about justice, fairness.

    CHEERS, ALL! [email protected] NO group funds us. We are beholden to non except future genderations who deserve better than WE got.

    [email protected]

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