Equal Rights Amendment, guaranteeing gender equality is one step closer to being ratified

Nov 13, 2019
In The News

WASHINGTON — More than 47 years after Congress passed a constitutional amendment granting women equal rights, the House took the first step Wednesday to finally make it part of the nation’s founding document.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to extend the time limit to ratify the The Equal Rights Amendment, which first passed in 1972, but fell three states short of the 38 needed to ratify it before a 1982 deadline.

Nevada and Illinois signed on to the amendment in 2017 and 2018 in a new push to win ratification. With the election of a Democratic statehouse in Virginia last week, advocates believe it’s all but a done deal.

"This all but guarantees that Virginia will become the needed 38th state to ratify the ERA soon after the new legislature is sworn in this coming January," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). "Now, one hundred years after women won the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment, it is time for women’s full equality to be written into the Constitution.

If the House passes the measure and the Senate acts, it would mark the closest the country has ever come to including equal rights for women in the Constitution since suffragettes first proposed it in 1923.

"Ninety-six years later, the United States Constitution still does not explicitly declare that women have equal rights under the law," said Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), arguing that the amendment is more than symbolic during the Trump administration.

“With ongoing efforts by the federal and state governments to undermine equality under the law based on sex, it is clear that an Equal Rights Amendment is more important than ever,” Nadler said.