Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and more than 50 co-sponsors reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment today in the House of Representatives. The amendment would add the following sentence to the US Constitution: "Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex".
In a press conference this morning, Congresswoman Maloney stated, "Women have made incredible progress in the past few decades. But laws can change, government regulations can be weakened, and judicial attitudes can shift. The only way for women to achieve equality in the United States is to write it into the Constitution".
Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said, "Although women in the United States have made considerable gains in the last 40 years, we are now lagging behind the rest of the world in closing the gender gap. According to the World Economic Forum, the US ranks 31st of 128 countries overall, but 76th in educational attainment, 36th in health and survival, 69th in political empowerment, and 70th for wage equality for similar work. In the representation of women in our Congress, we rank 71st. Clearly, the US needs an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to help women overcome systemic sex discrimination in our nation".
First introduced by Lucretia Mott in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment passed through Congress in 1972 but ultimately fell just three states short of the 38 needed for ratification in 1982.