HISTORY

The ERA debuted in Congress in 1923 authored by Dr. AlicePaul, a Republican who held dual doctoral degrees in Civil Law and Economics.  The Republican Party was the first to add the ERA to their national party platform in 1940 where it remained for 40 years.  The Democrats included ERA in their party's platform in 1944 where it remained until 2004 and was added again in 2008.  Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Bush Sr all supported the ERA.  The Equal Rights Amendment was re-introduced  for 49 years until it was finally ratified in 1972.  However, its passage was doomed for failure on account of a ten-year deadline imposed by Congress for ratification by 38 states.
*Only the 18th, 20th - 22nd Amendments had time limits contained in the Amendment itself. The 23rd - 26th Amendments had time limits outside of the actual Amendment as was the case with ERA. The last 27th Amendment was ratified after 203 years!

In 1969, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm delivered a famous speech for the ERA where she discusses how discrimination against women had far reaching consequences for all people.  

Hear Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm portrayedngresswoman Chisholm's speech re-enacted by Ms. Vesta Patrick.




Between 1972 - 1982, more than 450 national and local organizations stood united to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sex.  If successful, women and girls would finally become full citizens under law with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities men had possessed for centuries.
Citizens lobbied, petitioned, picketed, fund-raised, rallied and celebrated this exciting nationwide movement towards social justice for women. In the first year 22 states ratified the ERA and by 1977, ERA was just three states short of ratification to the U.S. Constitution.
As the 1979 deadline drew closer, advocates pushed for another seven-years to achieve the final three states needed, but were granted only three years and three months.  Equality, Justice and Liberty for women was coming down the homestretch when June 30, 1982 arrived.

First Lady Betty Ford's Remarks to International Women's Year Conference,Cleveland, Ohio, October 25, 1975    

Thank you for inviting me. I am here because I believe the best way to celebrate International Women's Year is to examine the very real problems women face today, not the progress of yesterday.  While many new opportunities are open to women, too many are available only to the lucky few.  Many barriers continue to the paths of most women, even on the most basic issue of equal pay for equal work. And the contributions of women as wives and mothers continue to be underrated. Read more
 


The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released testifed before Congress to extend ERA's deadline in 1978 and published an official report in 1981 in support of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment before the deadline.  Despite a 72% majority of Americans and the approval of 35 states, Congress did not extend or eliminate the deadline. ERA was thrust into a congressionally-imposed political exile for 30 years.


Fflora Crater (VA) Crater's RaidersIn 1992, the 27th "Madison Amendment" was ratified after 203 years! ERA advocates wondered what implications it may have for the ERA's "expiration".   In 1994, a grassroots group known as the ERA Summit led by Flora Crater of VA (mother of the ERA's lobbying force aka "Crater's Raidors" pictured above) commissioned a legal analysis at the University of Richmond that gave rise to the 3-state strategy for the ERA. Several states re-introduced the federal ERA determined to become the #36, 37 or 38 state needed.


In 2001, the ERA Campaign Network led by Dr. Jennifer S. McLeod, a social psychologist, convened a 22-state roundtable for the ERA and commissioned a nationwide survey conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation to reveal how Americans viewed equal rights for men and women. Click here to read the exciting findings of the survey.



In 2009, Carolyn A. Cook, the DC Coordinator for the ERA Campaign Network, propo
sed a joint resolution to Congress urging the removal of any deadline for the ERA's ratification.  In 2010, she and her mother launched United for Equality, LLC, for the sole purpose of ratifying the ERA to the Constitution by 2015.



On March 8, 2011, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (WI) introduced H.J. Resolution 47: Removing the Deadline for Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment on behalf of United 4 Equality. Marking the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day, our bill served as a reminder that the U.S. cannot end the human rights abuses of females abroad while continuing to deny us constitutional equality at home.

On March 22, 2012, marking the 40th anniversary of when ERA was ratified by Congress and sent out to the states, Senator Ben Cardin (MD) introduced the companion bill S.J. Res. 39It was an historical moment for everyone in attendance because the U.S. Senate had never before recognized any alternative path for the ERA than starting all over again!

Incidentally, in 1972, Delegate Ben Cardin to the MD General Assembly voted yes to approve the Equal Rights Amendment just two days after Congress proposed it to the 3/4 of the states for ratification.

Thanks to our national coalition, today citizens across the U.S. have a choice.
1) "Start All Over Again" (which requires 290 votes in the House; 67 votes in the Senate and 38 states to approve).
2) "Finish What We Started" (remove any deadline for ERA's ratification in the final three states needed for victory)  

Resuming the process of the 1972 ERA's ratification for the remaining three states is the only acceptable path for United for Equality, LLC, and its coalition partners.

We thank those who worked so hard for the ERA between 1972 - 1982.
We thank the ERA Summit and the ERA Campaign Network who refused to let the ERA's flame go out after 1982
when all others had abandoned her. It is these two groups who breathed new life into the ERA through the 3-state strategy that has enabled us to carry out their vision. 

We stand united to uphold the final 3 states' rights to ratify the ERA today. We urge a bipartisan Congress and the President to end sex discrimination under law now for America's servicewomen and for all women as a no-cost investment in America's military readiness, economic recovery and global leadership.


ERA Legislation in 113th Congress (2013 - 2014)

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)

 Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)         

  

 Congresswoman Jackie Speiers (D-CA)

 
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (HJR 113)
 








On May 9, 2013 - Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ)introduced U4E's joint resolution to remove the Congressionally-imposed deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to coincide with Mother’s Day celebrations across the country.  Senate Joint Resolution 15 was joined by 18 other original cosponsors.  House Joint Resolution 43 was joined by 31 other original cosponsors.

On March 27, 2014, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) took over championing the ERA in the House and introduced HJR 113 (to replace HJR 43) with 109 original cosponsors!

On May 9, 2015, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) reintroduced SJR 15 with 30 cosponsors.  Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) reintroduced HJR 51 with 164 cosponsors.

To find out whether your state's delegation to Congress are cosponsors of HJ Res. 113 or SJ Res. 15, click here to visit our page Congress 2013-2014 

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