The Equal Rights Amendment Is Reintroduced

Mar 15, 2005
Press Release

 WASHINGTON, DC - American women still do not constitutionally have equal rights under the law, even though the U.S. ensured equal rights for women in the Afghan constitution. Polls have shown that most Americans support equal rights, but they think they are already guaranteed in our Constitution. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), John Dingell (MI-15) and Rob Andrews (NJ-1) were joined by leading women’s groups at a press conference today as they re-introduced the bipartisan ERA.  

“It’s 2005 and women still do not have their equal rights guaranteed in the Constitution,” said Maloney. “We have fought wars overseas and guaranteed equal rights in the Afghan constitution, but we still don’t have them here at home.

“Most Americans think equal rights are already in the Constitution, but that’s simply not the case. We cannot ignore the discrimination against women that goes on in our daily lives, even now in the 21st century.”

“The time is now,” said Dingell. “America cannot wait any longer to make sure women have equal rights. When the ERA was first proposed in 1923, it was viewed as radically progressive. Now, some three decades after Congress first passed the ERA, it’s seen as commonsensical. The fact that it is not yet part of the United States Constitution is indefensible. For the sake of our daughters and granddaughters, it’s time we correct this situation.”

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, said: “Not only should the United States set an example for the world by guaranteeing equality for women, but American women need it now. With most families dependent on employed women, a significant wage gap persists mainly because of sex discrimination and sex segregation in the workforce.

“Meanwhile, our laws for fighting sex discrimination are too weak and do not have the clout of the Constitution. Equality in education is also continuously threatened, be it by presidents of major institutions or study commissions trying to water down Title IX.”

Congress actually once passed the ERA, in 1972. However, 38 states over 10 years were needed for ratification, and only 35 ratified it. The ERA has had high levels of support in recent years - in the 108th Congress, there
were 202 co-sponsors, while in the 107th Congress there were 211.

Text of the Equal Rights Constitutional Amendment
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification