Women Not Afforded Same Constitutional Equality As Men
Women do not currently have the same constitutional equality as men. That may change very soon.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first introduced in 1923. It reads:
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.
Schlafly, along with her fellow organizers, garnered enough support to kill the amendment by making the case that “the ERA would deny woman’s right to be supported by her husband, privacy rights would be overturned, women would be sent into combat, and abortion rights and homosexual marriages would be upheld.” Fundamentalist religious groups, states’ rights advocates who “said the ERA was a federal power grab,” and other businesses that opposed any potential increase in financial cost to themselves, also campaigned against the ERA.
Women have been without constitutional equality for too long. The Supreme Court just gave them a reason to pick up the once-lost battle once more.
The Supreme Court last week handed a victory to Wal-Mart, ruling against the 1.5 million women who had decided to collectively sue the corporation over sex discrimination in the workplace. The Hill reports: “Democratic lawmakers are reintroducing an amendment that would ensure against gender discrimination in the U.S. in the wake of this week's controversial ruling by the Supreme Court. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on Wednesday reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment at an event outside the Capitol.”
Women attend college, work outside the home, run for political office, raise children on their own, and generally exercise the same rights as men to general societal acceptance, a feat that could not have been accomplished when the ERA was last introduced at a time when feminism was just beginning to take hold of female consciousness. Yet, there is still sex discrimination in the workplace with regard to promotions and pay, though women are able to get jobs outside the home.
The problem now is not gaining equal rights – it is gaining enforcement of those rights. Then, there is a legal basis for enforcement of said rights, which is still, sadly, sorely needed.
“The Equal Rights Amendment is still needed,” Maloney said. “The only way for women to achieve permanent equality in the U.S. is to write it into the Constitution.”