Tuesday, January 29, 2019
The Equal Rights Amendment is making a comeback.
Nearly a century since the ERA was first introduced in Congress, and four decades since its unsuccessful ratification campaign, there is revived interest in enshrining the principle of gender equality in our Constitution.
Over the past two years, the Nevada and Illinois state legislatures ratified the ERA by comfortable margins, breathing new life into the proposed amendment. Advocates now believe that achieving the necessary 38 state ratifications is within reach.
What’s in store for the ERA? And how might it advance the fight for gender equality in the U.S. today? These questions are being newly debated across the country—and in a day-long event organized by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law last November, an array of politicians, scholars, legal advocates and activists examined the implications of this modern movement for legal change.***
At the conference, panelists recalled [Martha] Griffith’s tireless efforts at time of extraordinary social change. Cary Franklin, professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, noted that her big push occurred against the backdrop of the Women’s Strike for Equality—“the biggest demonstration for women’s rights since the women’s suffrage movement… [in which] thousands of women across the country organized in cities and made a number of demands about women’s equal citizenship, including education, employment, reproductive rights and child care.”***
NYU School of Law Professor Melissa Murray put it aptly, explaining that gender equality has become “part of the conversations people are having around kitchen tables and with friends about no longer being willing to accept what has been the status quo for so long.” With Arizona, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia all vying to be the lucky 38th state, it’s a good time for the entire nation to reflect on what the long-overdue ratification of the ERA can and should mean for gender equality in the U.S. in the 21st century.