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

Mar 17, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), lead House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment and original co-sponsor of Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s H.J.Res. 17 to remove the arbitrary deadline imposed on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), joined with Congresswoman Speier, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the leadership of the Democratic Women’s Caucus to celebrate the passage of H.J.Res. 17 today.

Mar 1, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, on the first day of Women’s History Month, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) was joined by lead cosponsor Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) in announcing the introduction of H.J. Res. 28, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).


Jan 27, 2021 In The News

One of the most important actions the Biden and Harris administration can take—one that will affect all areas of women’s and girls’ lives—is ensuring that the Equal Rights Amendment becomes part of the U.S. Constitution. “Passing the ERA, let’s start there,” Harris told an audience in Iowa during a campaign event in 2019, when asked what she would do for women in the first 100 days if elected president. 

Jan 27, 2021 In The News

Amid a year of crises and uncertainty, one thing has remained constant for many of us: our periods.

Jan 22, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today wrote to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris requesting that they act to immediately rescind a Trump Administration legal memo preventing the completion of the process to make the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Congresswoman Maloney has sponsored the House bill to ratify the ERA in every Congress since 1997.


Jan 22, 2021 In The News

New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney wants the Biden administration to seize the best opportunity in years to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a nearly 50-year effort to formally encode gender equality in the U.S. Constitution.

Jan 21, 2021 In The News

One of the most important actions that Biden and Harris can take—one that will affect all areas of women’s and girls’ lives—is ensuring that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) becomes part of the U.S. Constitution. “Passing the ERA; let’s start there,” Harris told an audience in Iowa during a campaign event in 2019, when asked what she would do for women in the first 100 days if elected president.

Jan 18, 2021 In The News

The deadly COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that 2020 will be remembered in history books as a devastating year for our country and the world. Tragically, a second pandemic of lies, hatred, and inequality, has caused 2021 to get off to an even worse start. The seditious attack by a violent mob on January 6, intent on preventing the peaceful transfer of power, was a calculated strike against our most cherished democratic values. Those who encouraged and empowered that mob apparently believe that some votes count more than others.

Oct 26, 2020 Press Release

NEW YORK, NY - Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement following the Senate party line vote confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Aug 26, 2020 Press Release


Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul brought together activists including ERA Coalition CEO Carol Jenkins, Judith Kasen-Windsor of The Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer Foundation, and Lizzie Tijani from Strategy for Black Lives for a Women's Equality Day Virtual Roundtable commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Moderated by NY1’s Cheryl Wills, the women discussed the legacy of the suffragists and today’s women’s equality movement.