Maloney’s ‘Fashion With A Purpose’ Statement At The Met

Sep 22, 2021
In The News

Congresswoman Maloney is seen looking over her shoulder at the camera in a dress with "Equal Rights for Women" written on sashes cascading from her shoulders. She is holding a green purse with white writing that says "ERA Yes."

“Women’s rights are under attack,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “Last night, the Met Costume Institute reopened with their inaugural exhibit celebrating American independence and I was proud to display the work of a New York designer. From its inception, American culture and fashion has been a force for change, which is why I used this opportunity to call for the immediate certification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Almost one hundred years after the introduction of the ERA, we have yet to constitutionally ban discrimination on the basis of sex. The ERA is a necessity in a governmental system that was never set up to treat women as equals. We must join together and show that we will not stop fighting until the Equal Rights Amendment is part of our country’s constitution.”

On Sept. 13, 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. The historic theme of the dress – featuring the original suffragist colors of purple, white, and gold; a cape embroidered with “Equal Rights for Women”; and white “ERA” letters down the front of the dress – gave a nod to the theme of the exhibit, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”

“I believe in fashion as a force for change,” said Rep Maloney. “In 2019, I wore a fireman’s jacket to call attention to the need to pass the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, my bill to ensure that every 9/11 responder, survivor, and family would be able to receive the compensation they need and deserve.

“For this year’s theme, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, I could think of nothing more pressing than to bring attention to the importance of cementing gender equality in the U.S. Constitution once and for all. Equality under the law for women and all marginalized genders has never been more urgent. We may not be able to control who is on the Supreme Court, but we can control the document they interpret and the legal parameters under which they operate. Equal rights must not be subject to the whims of legislators, they must be cemented in our nation’s bedrock legal document.”

Following Virginia’s vote to ratify to the ERA in 2020, the necessary 38 states have ratified the amendment. “Now, we are waiting on the National Archivist to certify and publish the 28th Amendment.”

On March 17, 2021 the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 17 with a bipartisan vote of 222-204. This legislation would remove the arbitrary time limit put on the ERA.

Congresswoman Maloney has been the lead cosponsor of the ERA since the 105th Congress in 1997.

On January 22, 2021, Congresswoman Maloney 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 ERA the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On June 6, 2018, Congresswoman Maloney and the ERA Coalition hosted a shadow hearing on the need for an ERA after receiving no response to the Congresswoman’s request for a hearing from then- House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. During that shadow hearing, then-House Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler pledged to hold a hearing on the ERA if he became Chairman. Chairman Nadler upheld that promise and held a hearing on the ERA on April 30, 2019, the first since 1984.