Equal Rights Amendment

Congresswoman Maloney is the leader in Congress of the effort to pass an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Among these rights is the right to equal pay for equal work, an issue which Congresswoman Maloney has lead the fight on during her time in Congress.

Many people today take for granted that equal rights between men and women are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution – and are shocked when they learn that they are not. To this day, the right to vote is the only right guaranteed to women in the constitution, even though women make up more than 50% of the population.

The ERA passed Congress in 1972, and was sent to the states for ratification. Unfortunately, by the time the deadline passed in 1982, the ERA was just three states shy of the thirty-eight necessary.

Women have made incredible progress in the past thirty-five years, but unfortunately judicial attitudes can shift, and Congress can repeal existing laws with a simple majority vote. In recent years, there have been efforts to roll back women’s rights in education, health, employment, and even domestic violence. As the great suffragist and author of the ERA Alice Paul said: “We shall not be safe until the principle of equal rights is written into the framework of our government.”

The ERA is a constitutional amendment which would prohibit denying or abridging equal rights under law by the United States or any state on account of sex. This critical amendment would guarantee the equal rights of men and women by:

  • Make sex a suspect category subject to strict judicial scrutiny, clarifying the legal status of sex discrimination for the courts. This would prohibit sexual discrimination in the same way we have prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and national origin.
  • Guaranteeing equal footing for women in the legal systems of all 50 states.
  • Ensuring that government programs and federal resources benefit men and women equally.

Why we need the ERA:

  • An ERA will give all citizens the opportunity to reach their full potential. Women and men must have equal rights for a democracy to thrive.
  • An ERA will put women on equal footing in the legal systems of all 50 states, particularly in areas where women have historically been treated as second-class citizens, including in cases of public education, divorce, child custody, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
  • Women are still not receiving equal pay for equal work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women on average earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
  • Passing an ERA will put the full weight of the U.S. Constitution behind employment laws relating to the prevention of sex discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, and benefits – especially in the public sector.
  • An ERA will eliminate sex discrimination in the armed services and ensure that government programs, such as Social Security, do not have a disparate negative impact on women.
  • Pregnancy discrimination continues to be prevalent in the workforce. An ERA can protect women from being harmed by a policy simply because she is a woman.
  • The 14th amendment is not enough. Only an ERA would provide for gender equity and offer an “overriding guarantee” of equal protection for women.
  • Women’s progress can be all too easily rolled back. Laws can be repealed and judicial attitudes can shift. Supreme Court Justice Scalia has even said that the Constitution does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender.
  • An ERA will ensure that the rights of American women and girls will not be diminished by any Congress or any political trend, but instead be preserved as basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
  • An ERA would help promote equal pay for women in the country.

More on Equal Rights Amendment

Jun 12, 2018 In The News

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a fundamental cause for many second-wave feminists in the seventies and eighties, is now back in the conversation in a very real way. And it just might pass this time, especially if a new group of activists have anything to say about it.

Jun 6, 2018 In The News

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney is sick of not being able to get a hearing on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment so she hosted her own on Wednesday.

And, she brought in some star power.

Jun 5, 2018 In The News

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano joined Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and other women’s rights advocates to call on Congress to ratify the long-stalled Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which would ensure greater constitutional protections for women.

The ERA, which would guarantee that constitutional rights apply equally to all individuals regardless of gender, was passed by both houses of Congress in 1972 but was ratified by only 35 of the 38 states needed to amend the Constitution.

Jun 5, 2018 In The News

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (left) is joined by activist/actress Alyssa Milano (far left) and other members of an ERA coalition calling for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution in a press conference held in Lower Manhattan on Monday June 4, 2018 (Susan Watts / New York Daily News)

Jun 4, 2018 Press Release

NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), House Sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment (H.J. Res. 33), joined activist and actress Alyssa Milano, the ERA Coalition, and women’s rights advocates to call for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA would guarantee that Constitutional rights apply equally to all persons regardless of their sex. Currently, the right to vote is the only right guaranteed to women in the Constitution.

Jun 1, 2018 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

May 31, 2018 Press Release

On the heels of Illinois becoming the 37th state since 1972 to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment on Wednesday night, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment (H.J. Res. 33), will host a shadow hearing on the need for an Equal Rights Amendment on Wednesday, June 6 from 3 – 5pm on Capitol Hill. Hearing witnesses will be actress and activist Alyssa Milano, Co-President of the ERA Coalition Carol Robles-Román, and Jessica Lenahan, plaintiff in Supreme Court case Castle Rock v. Gonzales.

Apr 26, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) officially requested that the House Committee on the Judiciary hold a hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which she has introduced in the last 11 Congresses. The ERA would make gender equality a constitutional guarantee and would protect women from gender-based discrimination.

Mar 27, 2018 Press Release

NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul hosted The Future is Female: Making a Difference in our Communities and in Congress with the Lower East Side Girls Club to highlight the importance of gender equality and discuss important initiatives to support women and girls, including state and federal Equal Rights Amendments, the establishment of a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, and New York’s Women’s Agenda. 

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