MAUREEN GEHRIG was the youngest of six, a registered nurse who became a housewife and homemaker for her husband and three children. She lived overseas in Germany for five years. After 27 years of marriage, they divorced and Maureen scrimped and saved in part-time jobs/no benefits to raise her children in their home. She left the Catholic Church because of its insistence that she go back to her husband who had left her and for their continued refusal to allow the ordination of women which she had campaigned hard for over several years.
She embraced the women's movement after reading Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, outfitted Nellie, her Oldsmobile Delta 88, with homemade neon orange and green women's liberation bumper stickers, marched for the ERA and wrote policy papers for presidents and local politicians with an uncanny ability to see and solve what others could not. She told Carolyn as a youngster at breakfast one fall morning that, "Women will never be safe until we have the ERA."
CAROLYN ANN was the youngest of three and remained close to her mother. She never understood women's inferiority until elementary school because her mother did everything a father or mother would do. When she was 10, Carolyn asked to be transferred to an all-girls school to escape her tormenters and she relished the friendships, encouragement and trust she found.
She became a Big Sister (mentor) for five years to provide the kind of parental support that her mother, Maureen, did not have while raising Carolyn. Later as a working professional at a Top 100 Best Company for working women and their families, Carolyn recognized that women's work/life challenges were insurmountable without true public policy reform of an outdated system of policies and practices created when only males were in the workforce.
Since United 4 Equality, LLC, launched in 2010, our # 1 priority has been to urge Congress to remove the deadline for ratification of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment, so that the 36th, 37th, and 38th states can ratify the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by 2015. U4E represents a network of grassroots groups across the US that continue to work to pass this federal amendment in their state legislatures today.
Once achieved, ERA will set a new precedent that requires the highest standard of judicial review for 'sex' that exists for cases of discrimination on the basis of 'race', 'religion' or 'national origin'. All laws - past, present and future will replace the term 'male' or 'female' with 'person', so benefits and responsibilities of citizenship are extended to both sexes equally. Otherwise, women and girls will continue to suffer disparate treatment in society.