The Equal Rights Amendment was originally introduced shortly after women gained the right to vote in the early 20th century. Comments made last Monday by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg were thought to have finally put the ERA to rest. However, last Tuesday, U.S. Representatives, decked out in red, made a statement that the House was scheduled to vote on Thursday for a resolution to dissolve the 10-year deadline that began in 1973. The deadline was extended by a vote of 232-to-183.
Throughout its nearly 100 year record, the Amendment has created a controversial female-driven history that gave much hope when Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia woke the dormant resolution with recent votes to approve the measure. The ERA states “[e]quality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
In the 1970s the Amendment was vastly popular and supported by women on both sides of the aisle, to include Betty Ford. Many others, such as Phyllis Schlafly (pictured), who was titled the “first lady of the conservative movement,” marched in opposition to the measure. Schlafly, a self-proclaimed housewife, and often times referred to as an “Aunt Tom” by political rivals, was said to have been the main player to the loss of steam the Amendment felt in the 1970s.
Controversially, Virginia State Legislatures voted in approval of the Equal Rights Amendment on January 15, 2020, making it the 38th state to approve the resolution. The measure was voted upon by the newly Democratic-controlled state government, knowing they had surpassed the 38-year deadline leaving many to wonder the purpose. That purpose has come to fruition with the House voting to extend the ERA’s deadline on Thursday, bringing the possibility of change to the United States Constitution — an action the US has not witnessed since 1992 with the ratification of the 27th Amendment –and its own two-century history.