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

Sep 13, 2021 Press Release

New York, NY – Tonight, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), sponsor of H.J. Res. 28, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), made a ‘Fashion With a Purpose’ statement for the certification of the ERA at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibit.

Aug 27, 2021 In The News

On Thursday afternoon, around 150 activists and women’s rights leaders from across the country gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, across from the U.S. Senate, to rally for removal of the arbitrary timeline placed in the preamble of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Aug 26, 2021 In The News

In 1971 — exactly 50 years ago — the indomitable feminist and fellow New Yorker, Rep. Bella Abzug, introduced a bill to establish Aug. 26 as Women’s Equality Day. The holiday commemorates the Aug. 26, 1920 certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. 

Aug 12, 2021 In The News

Female and male Olympians never compete on a level playing field. Women must clear at least four major hurdles which men, because they are men, never have to clear.  

Aug 5, 2021 In The News

To mark Equal Pay Day for Black women on August 3, the ERA Coalition hosted a town hall with some of the nation’s leading women’s rights advocates speaking about the importance of passing the ERA to ensure pay equality for Black women.

Jun 16, 2021 In The News

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has said that a strong, equitable recovery depends on getting women back into the workforce. More than 4.6 million women dropped out of the labor force during the coronavirus pandemic, with Black and Latinx women disproportionately hurt by this devastating job loss.

Apr 23, 2021 In The News

For nearly 50 years, generations of feminists in the U.S. have marched, lobbied and advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)—a simple but crucial amendment that would enshrine gender equality in the Constitution. And all the while, protectors of the status quo have taken extreme measures to block their path.

Apr 16, 2021 In The News

Championed by members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC), including Reps. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R 7/S. 205)—currently before Congress and up for a vote next month—aims to help secure equal pay for all Americans and end the stark gender wage gap.

Mar 28, 2021 In The News

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has spent her nearly 30 years in the House fighting for women’s rights, particularly for making the Equal Rights Amendment a part of the U.S. Constitution. 

On March 1, to mark the start of Women’s History Month, she introduced a new ERA bill that would accompany another bill that would remove the arbitrary deadline imposed to officially ratify the ERA, a deadline allowed to lapse in the last administration.