“In the new code of laws remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.”
“I cannot help but laugh.” — Correspondence between John and Abigail Adams, 1776.
Women’s Equality Day is this Sunday, the 26th. It is the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote in 1920. It took activists and reformers the better part of a century to garner support for this landmark legislation, enfranchising women the power to vote.
The fight for full equality under the law drags on even today -- nearly two centuries after the suffrage movement began.
Today, women’s rights are considered statutory, not constitutional, meaning a hostile Congress, President, or Supreme Court could essentially wipe them out with the stroke of a pen.
With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court looming over Washington politics, it is now more important than ever we pass the Equal Rights Amendment to protect women’s rights.
Those protections cannot be entrusted to the Congressional Republicans, the Trump administration, or the President’s Supreme Court nominees, who have refused to acknowledge the existence of a wage-gag, a woman’s right to choose, and workplace harassment as an issue in mainstream America.
It has never been more clear that women need these constitutional guarantees of rights not afforded currently.
Introduced to Congress in 1972, the ERA aimed to curb discrimination of wages. The ERA was seen as a way to end employers from denying unemployment compensation for pregnant employees.
The amendment needed 37 states to ratify it within a span of 10 years. With only 35 states in 1982, the amendment fell 2 states short, and therefor (supposedly) died on the floor of Congress.
In fact, a 2013 report by the Congressional Research Service reported that congress could simply vote to change the old deadline.
Nevada ratified the ERA last year, and Illinois followed suit earlier this year, meaning the amendment is now a single state away from being federal policy.
This is why it is essential to have elected officials in Washington who represent such common sense and fundamental ideas -- that women deserve equality.