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It’s time Arizona recognizes equal rights for women


Most Americans have heard of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). What most Americans do not realize is that the ERA did not pass and is not a part of the U.S. Constitution. How can this be when between 91 percent to 96 percent of American adults polled believe that men and women should have equal rights, and 72 percent already think that men and women have equal rights guaranteed by the Constitution (ERA Survey)? How can this be when the U.S. imposed the ERA language on other countries in 1945 and encouraged it in its foreign assistance in all the former Soviet Union countries in the 1990s? How can this be when the Republicans were the first to endorse the ERA in the party platform in the 1940s with the Democrats shortly following suit?

Kaitlin Ford

Kaitlin Ford

Yet it remains that America is one of few countries that does not guarantee women equal protection of rights under the Constitution. In fact, corporations received equal rights under the 14th Amendment before women did. U.S. Supreme Court justices have made it clear that the Constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “If I could choose an amendment to add to the Constitution, it would be the Equal Rights Amendment. I think we have achieved that through legislation, but legislation can be repealed, it can be altered. So I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion — that women and men are persons of equal stature — I’d like them to see that is a basic principle of our society.”

The ERA was born in 1923 after women won the right to vote. It was introduced every year in Congress until finally, in 1972, the ERA was passed by Congress and by 1984 ratified by 35 states of the 38 needed. The ERA is the only proposed amendment that had an expiration date on it – a practice many challenge. Since then, it continues to be introduced in Congress every year and a new movement has arisen to see it passed by 2020 because there still is an urgent need for the ERA in today’s society.

The ERA will help improve the lives of men and women by making equality a Constitutional principle as well as a law, as it is now in some areas. The U.S. falls behind many other countries in measures of women’s equality from the number of parliamentarians to maternal deaths to response to domestic violence. The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights found recently in the Jessica Gonzales case that the U.S. violated the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man by failing to protect victims of domestic violence.

Dianne Post

Dianne Post

Currently women make on average 83 cents on the dollar compared to men performing the same job. Women also are less likely to have benefits at work such as insurance and pensions. These are only a few examples of how the ERA will improve the lives of all American citizens now and in the future.

Arizona did not pass the ERA in the 1980s. In fact, the state donated $10,000 of taxpayer money to the Mountain States Defense Fund to defeat the ERA. But women in Arizona still demand equality. State Rep. Rebecca Rios will be introducing the ERA again this year. It has been introduced many past years but leadership refused to assign it to a committee, let alone have a hearing. The women of Arizona deserve better. Arizona was once a beacon for women’s rights. Women could vote in Arizona in 1912, and Rachael Berry, from Apache County, was the first woman legislator elected in Arizona in 1914 before women in the rest of the country could even vote. Isabel Greenway was Arizona’s first congresswoman and only representative from 1933-1935. Arizona holds the record for the most women governors (four, three in a row) and having women hold all state offices at the same time (1998). The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court came from here. Arizona needs to reclaim its place in the march toward equality by ratifying the ERA today and moving toward that day that all discrimination will end.

— Dianne Post is a Phoenix attorney and Kaitlin Ford is an intern for NOW.


    in short, the Equal Rights Amendment(ERA) , once passed by just 3 more states, all Republican-led, will make Sex Discrimination a Violation of the US Constitution. Think, Real clout against rape, equal wages for equal work, enough women in US Congress to pass some desperately needed legislation for the middle class, for the environment, for better education for American children It will put girls and women in the Nation’s contract for equal Treatment alongside the minority group, American males. Not well-publicized, ERA will benefit America’s males too, but we females take the brunt of discrimination in every societal sphere. We fight as hard endlessly, for years, for males’ rights, too, even when they run us off the road and issue death threats. Yes, they Do.

    For 16 years, I have been founder-president of The Equal Rights Amendment Alliance, with hundreds of thousands of members, 336 ERA organizations with more springing up every year. We also help mentor and fundraiise for 9 states that file ERA ratification bills every year; remember, ERA needs Just Three of them to vote to ratify. We have co-created the newest ERA legislation before US Congress, lobby them and speak for ERA passage at the US Capitol frequently.

    Trust me, we don’t do all this endlessly, year-around Not for status, $$$, nor power, but BECAUSE WE CARE.

    It is SHOCKING, an ABOMINATION, that the “exceptional” USA does not deem American women and girls deserving of equal treatment and forces us to struggle now-92 YEARS for what should be an American human right, FREEDOM FROM DISPIRITING DISCRIMINATION, like so many other groups of human citizens. Just that WE females now constitute THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS!

    Besides imbuing Our Nation with a higher quality of life, offering everyone the chance to follow the life’s trajectory of their choice, there are Real economic advantages for our Nation: some other nations made by the USA to adopt ERA language now find their GDP climbed by 9%, revenues increased, costs of Medicaid, Public Assistance, food stamps and court costs can drop!

    And, the Equal Rights Amendment REQUIRES NO FUNDING, unlike most legislation !

    We have to ask, Why is the Virginia legislature playing games by refusing democracy’s promise of equal treatment year after year. What did we females EVER DO that enraged them so? Or, why are they afraid of us females? Makes no sense.

    ERA states:

    “Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Promises only elimination of Sex Discrimination, Friends!


  2. I’m the last one to disparage anyone their civil rights but your argument would be much stronger if you stop parroting the cents-on-the-dollar myth. It’s been widely debunked, even by feminists:

    Moreover, your enumeration of women’s accomplishments in Arizona demonstrate clearly why people have lost interest in the ERA–women are, and have been, very successful without it. Rather than being an “urgent need,” it has become largely irrelevant.

    Why do 72% of Americans think women’s rights are Constitutionally protected? Because they are. Because the Constitution protects human rights, not men’s rights or women’s rights. Ratification of the ERA is not going to mean automatic pay raises for female workers nor will it end domestic violence.

    The international community can claim the U.S. has violated the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man by failing to protect victims of domestic violence but the U.S. Constitution is still the law of the land and the courts have repeatedly ruled that government has no responsibility to provide protection to individual citizens and cannot be held responsible for failing to do so (see Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 US 748 [2005]; Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 [1981]; DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dept. of Social Services, 489 US 189, [1989]; and even California government code SS 821, 845, and 846).

    Ratification of the amendment will have virtually no effect on the day-to-day lives of women or men because the accomplishments of Arizona women have gradually relegated the amendment into the feel-good category.

  3. If it’s not a big deal to you either way to get it ratified on the Constitution , then let’s get it officially ratified. Saying that doing so doesn’t make a change, then you shouldn’t be bothered by us making the change official. It seems worth it to me to make our Constitution as clear as possible lest there be some confusion in the future.
    Thank you,

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