Reps. Maloney, Biggert reintroduce Equal Rights Amendment
WASHINGTON, DC –Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Judy Biggert (R-IL)
today reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. House, along
with Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (D-MI),
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Mazie K.
Hirono (D-HI) and over 50 other original co-sponsors.
“Women have made incredible progress in the past few decades. But laws can change, government regulations can be weakened, and judicial attitudes can shift. The only way for women to achieve permanent equality in the United States is to write it into the Constitution,” Rep. Maloney said. “These 52 words, when passed by Congress and ratified by 38 states, will make equal rights for women not just a goal to be desired but a constitutional right.”
“Thanks to the work of pioneers like Lucretia Mott and Francis Willard, American women have achieved a level of independence and equality once thought to be unattainable,” said Rep. Biggert. “This amendment will carry on that tradition by forever enshrining the rights and freedoms of our daughters and granddaughters in the Constitution of the United States. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Maloney and my other colleagues in this historic effort, and look forward to working with them to protect the basic liberties of women here and around the world.”
“We have long since passed the time when there should be any question that equal rights for women should be enshrined in our nation’s constitution. And, yet, there are still those who believe that simple equality is a radical and dangerous notion. Clearly, we have made extraordinary progress, but our work is not finished. I am proud to join my New York colleague, Carolyn Maloney, and the many dedicated activists, in the reintroduction of the long overdue Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution,” Rep. Nadler said.
“The time is long overdue for a constitutional guarantee of equality between the sexes. Throughout the history of this country, women have faced systematic and purposeful discrimination. Women were conspicuously absent from the Constitution when it was drafted more than 200 years ago, and today, women still have no explicit legal guarantee of equal protection. As such, we know the ERA must be ratified to ensure meaningful and lasting equality for all women,” Terry O’Neill, newly-elected President of the National Organization for Women said.
“Although women in the United States have made considerable gains in the last 40 years, we are now lagging behind the rest of the world in closing the gender gap. According to the World Economic Forum, the US ranks 31st of 128 countries overall, but 76th in educational attainment, 36th in health and survival, 69th in political empowerment, and 70th for wage equality for similar work. In the representation of women in our Congress, we rank 71st. Clearly, the US needs an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to help women overcome systemic sex discrimination in our nation,” said Ellie Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority.
“Women deserve equal rights. People might think my generation has forgotten, or doesn't even know about, the E.R.A. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm proud to stand with the generation that produced the Carolyn Maloneys and Ellie Smeals, and hope our generation can continue to benefit from their efforts, with the implementation of the E.R.A. at last,” said Shannon Lynberg, National Director of the Younger Women’s Task Force.
The ERA was first introduced as the “Lucretia Mott Amendment” at the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls “Declaration of Sentiments,” considered the founding of the women’s rights movement in the U.S. It came closest to ratification in the 1970’s, when 35 states approved it, falling just 3 states short of the two-thirds necessary for a constitutional amendment to be ratified.
For the full text of the bill, click here.
For more information on the ERA, click here.