LWVUS has supported and pushed for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment since it was first passed by Congress in 1972. Leagues across the country have worked to engage lawmakers and organize at the grassroots level to ensure equal rights for all, regardless of sex. On January 27, 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. For more background on the ratification journey of the ERA, read our blog post.
Now, LWV is pushing for the ERA to cross the finish line!
In this toolkit, you will find resources and tools for Leagues to use in our nationwide push for ERA inclusion in the US Constitution. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].
What is the ERA?
- The Equal Rights Amendment ensures equal rights for all, regardless of sex.
- The amendment was introduced by suffragist Alice Paul in 1923. It was passed by Congress in 1972 and crossed the 38-state threshold for ratification in January of 2020.
- The text of the ERA is as follows: "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. Sec. 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. Sec. 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification."
Why do we need the ERA?
- It’s undeniable that women have made significant progress toward equality over the years. However, women continue to battle systematic discrimination in the form of unequal pay, workplace harassment, pregnancy discrimination, domestic violence, limited access to comprehensive health care, and more.
- Tackling these issues will take more than just reactionary solutions. We must address the root cause of inequality by amending our constitution.
- The ERA will pave the way for further legislative progress towards gender equality and will allow the courts to closely scrutinize sex-based discrimination.
What happens to the ERA now?
- Once an amendment has been ratified by the necessary 38 states, the National Archivist can proceed with final certification of the amendment.
- However, when it passed the ERA in 1972, Congress attached a deadline for ratification to the amendment. Because that deadline has passed, ambiguity exists about whether the amendment can now be certified as normal.
- Congress can vote to remove the deadline and eliminate any ambiguity so that the ERA can be certified as an official amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
LWV support of the ERA
- LWV seeks to secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all. We promote social and economic justice and the health and safety of all Americans.
- LWV supports the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and efforts to bring laws into compliance with the goals of the ERA.
- LWV supports equal rights for all under state and federal law regardless of sex, race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or disability.
- LWV has fought hard for passage and ratification of the ERA since the 1970s.
What people can do to support the ERA?
- People can support ERA certification by contacting their senators and asking them to vote YES to remove the ratification deadline on the ERA.
During this unprecedented time, when COVID-19 has threatened our health, safety, and livelihoods, we are reminded of the disproportionate and unique impact this virus has on women. In the long term, when COVID-19 has been contained, we hope our Federal Government passes the Equal Rights Amendment so that in future pandemics, Women do not bear the brunt of the effects.
LWVUS has developed a page addressing common questions asked about the ERA. We hope the questions and answers, which were derived from conversations with League members and policy briefings, will serve as a guide to common questions on policy, implementation, and other issues as Leagues do their advocacy work.
- Check out this ERA brief document from the ERA Coalition, of which LWV is a member.
Letters for State Leagues to Contact Senators
Check here for a list of co-sponsors to determine which letter to send.
- Tell Congress to remove the ERA ratification deadline, because #WomenPowerTheVote! [Link to action alert]
- Equal rights regardless of sex should be enshrined in our Constitution! Tell Congress to remove the deadline so the ERA can cross the finish line! [Link to action alert]