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The Equal

Rights
Amendment
Apparently more than 90
years.

Haneen, Kylie, and Helen

Historical Context

Introduction of the Bill


Alice Paul authored the document
Brainstorming began at Seneca Falls in 1848 by
Lucretia Mott
Republicans Senator Charles Curtis and
Representative Daniel Read Anthony Jr introduced
the ERA in Congress in 1923
1946- Narrowly defeated 38-35 in the Senate
1950- Passed by Senate with a rider that essentially made it invalid in terms of
equal rights protection

Allies
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National Education Association
United Auto Workers
National Conference for Puerto Rican Women
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

Reed v. Reed 1971


Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71, was an Equal Protection case in the United States in
which the Supreme Court ruled that the administrators of estates cannot be
named in a way that discriminates between sexes.
For the first time since the
Fourteenth Amendment had gone
into effect in 1868, the Court had
struck down a state law on the
ground that it discriminated against
women in violation of the Equal
Protection Clause.

Ratification...almost
1972- The Senate approved
the Equal Rights Amendment
with no changes
Sets a 7 year time limit
for ratification
Phyllis Schlafly establishes
National Committee to Stop
ERA

Ratification...almost

Ratification...almost
October 1977- Representative Elizabeth Holtzman introduces a bill calling for an
extension of the ERA deadline which had been March 22, 1979.
October 6, 1978- The U.S. Senate approves extension by a vote of 60-36. A new
deadline of June 30, 1982 is set.
December 1981- Judge Marion Callister calls the extension for the amendment
unconstitutional but is soon overruled
June 30, 1982- The amendment is 3 states short of ratification.

Most Recent History


July 1983- ERA re-introduced in Congress.
1985-1992- Amendment brought before every session of Congress and sent to
committee.
January 1994- ERA Summit to discuss another approach
July 1994- NOW members want to make revisions that will include eliminating
discrimination based on sex, race, sexual orientation, marital status,
ethnicity, national origin, color,indigence, age and disability.

Content & Its Evolution


1923 (Lucretia Mott Amendment. Res. 75):
Men and women shall have equal rights
throughout the United States and every place
subject to its jurisdiction. Congress shall have
power to enforce this article by appropriate
legislation.

Content & Its Evolution


1943 (Alice Paul Amendment):
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States
or by any state on account of sex

Content & Its Evolution


1950 revision:
The provisions of this article shall not be construed to impair any rights, benefits,
or exemptions conferred by law upon persons of the female sex.

Content & Its Evolution


Martha W Griffiths was a member of the
House of Representatives
(1955-1974). She was responsible for
resurrecting the Equal Rights
Amendment (ERA) from being help up in the
committee to being heard
By the full house.

Content & Its Evolution


1972 (Res 208):
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall
not be denied or abridged by the United States or
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.

Impacts

The Feminist Split


National American Woman Suffrage
Association
National Womens Party

Hayden Rider (1950) Amendment

1964
-

1982

Howard W. Smith
(Virginian) and the Civil
Rights Act 1964

Hello, yes, hi, VA wyd?!?

Phyllis Schlafly - Harvard educated lawyer and


supporter of Donald Drumpf
Schlafly argued that "the ERA would lead
to women being drafted by the military
and to public unisex bathrooms."
- unisex bathrooms: check
- women in the military: check
- ERA ratification: _____
Her main organization against the
amendment was STOP ERA.

Phyllis Schlafly
Anti-feminist
Founder of Eagle Forum (Leading
the Pro-Family Movement since
1972)
Argued that the ERA did not define
words like sex and equality

Where do we stand in the


US in 2016?
1)

2)

3)

4)

There is no amendment to the United States


Constitution that explicitly states discrimination based
upon sex or gender is illegal.
We have both a female presidential candidate, as well as
a male candidate who described vaginas as wherevers
leading the presidential race.
Through other acts of Congress, womens rights have
been asserted, however many of these have been eroded
by state laws and the Supreme Court.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the eldest justice on the
Supreme Court, and she turned 83 yesterday!

Discussion Questions
-

WHAT DO WE DOOOOOOO?!?!?!?!? HOW DO WE GET AN


AMENDMENT/Is it necessary now??

Why do you think there are such well-known opposers (like Schlafly) to the
bill and no quintessential ERA advocates?

What makes the language of the amendment so important?


-

One of Schlaflys main arguments was about the loose definitions of


words like sex & equality

At what point do you think there will no longer be a need for legislative
protection from discrimination based on gender?

Secondary Readings
Soule, Sarah A. and Brayden G. King, The Stages of the Policy Process and the Equal Rights Amendment, 1972
1982, American Journal of Sociology 111 (2006): 1871-1909
The Supreme Court Historical Society. Supreme Court Decisions & Women's Rights - Milestones to Equality.
Accessed March 8, 2016. http://supremecourthistory.org/lc_breaking_new_ground.html.
National Organization of Women. Chronology of the Equal Rights Amendment, 1923-1996. Accessed March 8,
2016. http://now.org/resource/chronology-of-the-equal-rights-amendment-1923-1996/.
TIME. Phyllis Schlafly at 84. Accessed March 8, 2016. http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,
8599,1889757,00.html.

Secondary Readings
Becker, Susan D The Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment: American Feminism Between the Wars. Westport, CT:
Greenwood Press, 1981.
Boles, Janet K The Politics of the Equal Rights Amendment: Conflict and the Decision Process. New York:Longman, 1979.
Mayeri, Serena A New E.R.A. or a New Era? Amendment Advocacy and the Reconstitution of Feminism.Northwestern
University Law Review v.103/3 (2009).
Baker, Nancy E. "Equal Rights Amendment." In Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World The Multimedia Encyclopedia of
Women in Today's World, edited by Mary Z. Stange Carol K. Oyster and Jane E. Sloan First ed., 494-495. Thousand Oaks, CA:
SAGE Publications, Inc., 2011. doi: 10.4135/9781412995962.n262.
"Overview." ERA:. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2016. http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/overview.htm
"Martha Griffiths and the Equal Rights Amendment." The Center for Legislative Archives. National Archives, n.d. Web. 2 Mar.
2016. https://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/griffiths/