Equal Rights Amendment Education Information

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Why is an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution necessary?

Without an Equal Rights Amendment – By a simple majority, Congress can amend or repeal anti-discrimination laws, the Administration can negligently enforce such laws, and the Supreme Court can use the intermediate standard of review to permit certain regressive forms of sex discrimination.

The Equal Rights Amendment would provide a fundamental legal remedy against sex discrimination for both women and men. It would guarantee that the rights affirmed by the U.S. Constitution are held equally by all citizens without regard to their sex.

The ERA would clarify the legal status of sex discrimination for the courts, where decisions still deal inconsistently with such claims. For the first time, sex would be considered a suspect classification, as race currently is. Governmental actions that treat males or females differently as a class would be subject to strict judicial scrutiny and would thus have to meet the highest level of justification – a necessary relation to a compelling state interest – to be upheld as constitutional.

To actual or potential offenders who would try to write, enforce, or adjudicate laws inequitably, the ERA would send a strong preemptive message: the Constitution has zero tolerance for sex discrimination under the law.

How has the Equal Rights Amendment been related to women in the military?

Without an ERA, women’s equal access to military career ladders and their protection against sex discrimination are not guaranteed.

Without an ERA, women’s equal access to military career ladders and their protection against sex discrimination are not guaranteed.

The issue of the draft is often raised as an argument against the ERA. In fact, the lack of an ERA in the Constitution does not protect women against involuntary military service. Congress has always the power to draft women as well as men.

The Department of Defense’s decision to open the vast majority of combat positions to women who volunteer for them has resurrected the public debate about whether a future draft would include women.

Ratification of the ERA would improve the United States’ global credibility in the area of sex discrimination. Many other countries have in their governing documents, however imperfectly implemented, an affirmation of legal equality of the sexes. Ironically, some of those constitutions – in Japan and Afghanistan, for example – were written under the direction of the United States government.

Did you know that the 27th Amendment, dealing with congressional compensation was originally proposed on September 25, 1789 and ratified on May 7, 1992? That’s 203 years! No deadline for that one,  constitutional protection for women? The Equal Rights Amendment got ten years, and then it was game over.

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Only 32 constitutions do not include an explicit gender equality guarantee. The U.S. Constitution is one of them. Though parts of the Constitution — like the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment — may appear to protect women, even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said this isn’t the case.

“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t,” he said in the January 2011 issue of California Lawyer.

https://www.callawyer.com/clstory.cfm?pubdt=201101&eid=913358&evid=1

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/16/us/american-women-world-rankings/index.html

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Anti-Feminist Phyllis Schlafly once warned that ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment would lead to same-sex marriage and women being drafted into combat. She also said it would threaten families, an argument she still makes. She touts the virtues of the traditional nuclear family with a gender-division of duty, wherein husbands provide and wives focus on the home and children.

“But didn’t you go to law school? Weren’t you a lawyer?”

“I only went to law school to irritate the feminists,” Schlafly says with a laugh.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/us/new-womens-equal-rights-movement/index.html

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People often assume women’s rights are secure thanks to the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment. That amendment was adopted in 1868. The mere fact that it took another FIVE DECADES for women to get the right to vote proves the clause wasn’t about them.

And laws bearing names like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act and Violence Against Women Act may sound great, but they’re not ironclad guarantees of protection.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/us/new-womens-equal-rights-movement/index.html

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Transgender workers report UNDEREMPLOYMENT at 14% – which is double the rate of the population as a whole at 7%.

44% of transgender people who are currently working are also UNDEREMPLOYED.

Transgender workers are also at 15% for having household incomes under $10,000 – which is four times the rate of the population as a whole at 4%

http://www.lgbtmap.org/transgender-workers

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Suffrage Quotes:

http://www.tomernotes.com/Women%27sSuffrage/Quotes.html

The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes. – Bella Abzug

Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less. –Susan B. Anthony

 

The Equal Rights Amendment, meant to give women in America the sort of explicit protections now offered in constitutions across the globe, was first introduced to Congress in 1923. Both houses of Congress passed it in 1972. It then went to state legislatures, requiring the ratification of 38 states. But by the time the 1982 deadline hit, it had fallen three states short. http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/16/us/american-women-world-rankings/index.html

Women who work full-time earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, a raise of just about 19 cents since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963. For women of color, the picture is worse, with black women making 64 cents and Latinas making 56 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/us/new-womens-equal-rights-movement/index.html

“Anyone who says that paying women equally and treating them equally in the workplace makes it more expensive for businesses to hire them … is saying in effect that women are worth less than men. Equality in the workplace is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing for business and a good thing for men as well as women.”

Jessical Neuwirth, Author of Equal Means Equal  http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/us/new-womens-equal-rights-movement/index.html

“People often assume women’s rights are secure thanks to the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment, Neuwirth says. That amendment was adopted in 1868. The mere fact that it took another five decades for women to get the right to vote, she says, proves the clause wasn’t about them. And laws bearing names like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act and Violence Against Women Act may sound great, but they’re not ironclad guarantees of protection.” Jessical Neuwirth, Author of Equal Means Equal

“The main opponent we face is lack of knowledge,” Hager says. “Seven out of 10 Americans think we already have it. Nine out of 10 think we should have it. Why don’t we have it? Because seven out of 10 think we do.” Bettina Hager on The Equal Rights Amendment http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/us/new-womens-equal-rights-movement/index.html

A 2001 survey conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation showed that 96% of U.S. adults believe women and men should have equal rights, and 72% believe the Constitution already guarantees those rights. http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/us/new-womens-equal-rights-movement/index.html

While ratifying the ERA would certainly be symbolic — a statement to the nation and the world that women in America matter — these activists insist the need is real.

Just look at the recent flood of state legislation meant to chip away at reproductive rights, they say. See how religious freedoms trumped women’s rights when the Supreme Court allowed Hobby Lobby to refuse comprehensive birth control coverage. Peek into corporate boardrooms and notice the dearth of female CEOs.

Pay and other inequities hurt women — and, by extension, families and communities (including men). Victims of domestic violence are less likely to leave if they can’t stand on their own feet financially. And a lifetime of wage discrimination means women and their families also pay a price later when it comes to Social Security benefits.  CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/us/new-womens-equal-rights-movement/index.html