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What Is The Role Of Equal Rights Amendment In Women’s Rights?

the equal rights amendment

What is the Equal Rights Amendment? Does it sound similar to the Civil Rights Movement? Well, understanding where the Equal Rights Amendment stands depends on who you talk to.

Supporters of the theory believe it became active on January 27. They hold that it meets all the rules and serves as the 28th Amendment. However, its opponents find it to be invalid due to missed deadlines. There was also a matter of states withdrawing support, court rulings, and the DOJ.

The supporters often compare it to the racial justice movement and say it holds just as much value.

Apart from the legal debates, people have been torn about what the ERA means for women in America. However, these discussions change over time and right now, are nothing short of controversial.

Therefore, the Equal Rights Amendment seems to be a very important topic in the world of law. In this article, we will discuss the ERA and what rights it might impact (like abortion

So, let us begin to explore what the amendment is and what it might achieve!

What Was The Equal Rights Amendment?

The Equal Rights Amendment was set to bring about a change in the U.S. Constitution. These changes would bring an end to laws that discriminate against women. Therefore, the aim was to ensure that a citizen enjoys rights not based on someone’s gender.

The provisions state that the law should not deny equal rights because of sex and gender of a person. To enforce these, the Congress has the power to make the rules.

Who Introduced The Equal Rights Amendment?

When was the Equal Rights Amendment passed? In the year 1923, the Bill of the Act came into being. However, it took almost 49 years for the U.S. Senate to approve the Bill into Act in 1972. Despite there being an extension till 1982, it only got ratification from 38 states in 2020. Virginia’s approval came in last.

Why Was The Equal Rights Amendment Not Ratified?

Yes, there was indeed fierce opposition, mostly from conservative groups. They feared the potential loss of privileges. For example, there were proposed notions like exemption from military service or economic support from husbands.

What Are The Provisions Of The Act?

Supporters of the Act included the National Organization for Women and other women’s rights groups. They saw this as an economic issue as it aimed to end laws that kept women economically dependent. They believed failure to adopt the amendment would be a setback for feminist issues in courts and laws.

The Equal Rights Amendment has the following features.

It Establishes Equality for Women

This part states that women should have the same rights as men in the United States. Moreover, these same rights exist in all its territories. It insists that no state or the country itself should treat someone unfairly. No state has the right to take away their rights because of their gender.

Enforcement Of Equal State Power

This section gives the authority to Congress and individual states to make laws that protect women’s rights. It ensures that the principles of this amendment are followed by each state. Moreover, the states can also create specific rules and regulations to support and enforce equality for women.

Is There An Effective Date?

If this amendment got accepted, it would become active two years after most states agreed to it. This time gap allows for preparation and adjustments. Therefore, states need to agree before it officially becomes a part of the Constitution.

How Did The Act Pass Through The Congress?

How Did The Act Pass Through The Congress

In February 1970, the National Organization for Women protested to lower the voting age for women in the United States. These historical protests took place at the Senate hearings.

They demanded that a hearing take place on the Equal Rights Amendment. Eventually, after much protest the senators agreed to discuss it.

In August, a large group of 20,000 women all over the nation held a Women’s Strike. Their demands? Equality through equal rights in society.

Betty Friedan- The Women’s Rights Advocate

The radical Betty highlighted the ERA as an issue that demanded immediate attention.  In Washington, protesters presented a petition for the ERA at the Capitol. This gained support from influential sources like Time. Finally, Congress began hearings on the ERA in 1970.

Martha Griffith’s Role

Michigan’s Martha Griffiths managed to successfully bring the ERA to the House floor. Therefore, after 15 years of delay the Equal Rights Amendment got the attention it claimed. It passed in the House and moved to the Senate.

Limitations To The Equal Rights Amendment

Limitations To The Equal Rights Amendment

However, the Senate did add a drawback clause that exempted women from the military. Next, there was a halt as the 91st Congress ended.

Griffiths reintroduced the ERA, and it passed both the House and Senate in 1971-72. Therefore, things were looking up despite attempts to exempt women from the draft. President Richard Nixon supported the ERA’s approval, and the ship sailed!

Recent Developments Of The ERA

Recent Developments Of The ERA

In the 1970s, after a lot of effort, the ERA got close to becoming a part of the Constitution. However, it wasn’t ratified by enough states in time.

Recently, some supporters are trying to revive the ERA by encouraging states that didn’t ratify it before. Moreover, there are talks of removing the ratification deadline.

To Conclude

Between the 1970s and now, many groups have supported or opposed the Equal Rights Amendment. The insurance industry, religious organizations, and anti-abortion groups have mainly opposed it. Moreover, there is still significant debate on how it would affect laws on abortion, marriage, and military service.

Groups in Congress, like the National Organization for Women, are reintroducing the ERA. The ERA has been in discussion several times but hasn’t passed both the House and the Senate.

Some politicians continue to push for its adoption. States have their own equal rights laws too. However, when the ERA becomes a part of the U.S. Constitution remains an ongoing debate.

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