My father taught me what law should guarantee — equality of opportunity

Guest Opinion//June 10, 2019//

My father taught me what law should guarantee — equality of opportunity

Guest Opinion//June 10, 2019//

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To my awesome dad from your loving daughter:

Father’s Day 2019 merits a broadcast about how very honored and fortunate I am to have you as my mentor, supporter and role model. You have stood by me in good times and bad, during triumphs and challenges, and through monumental successes and painful do-overs. I have taken on the world and created my own unique value within it.

You repeatedly have shown by example and encouragement that my life and career can be anything to which I set my mind.  My strength and power come from within, forged through my faith and fortitude, as you so often have reminded me. Growing up and becoming my own person, I hold dear the love and inspiration you and Mom provided me over the years.

Sue Marceau
Sue Marceau

Through your guidance, Dad, I have grown into a strong, powerful, creative, caring and adaptable person who knows her mind and has the confidence to go after what she wants for herself and others. I hear your voice echoing words of encouragement as I continue the lifelong journey to being my own person and following the path I am meant to pursue in this life.

I am confident in expressing my opinion, even when it differs from the majority. The analytical and persuasive talents you have nurtured provide me with the wisdom for rational debate; the conviction to stand my ground; the resilience to absorb inevitable hard knocks; and the assurance that my words and actions are guided by higher purpose. The sense of personal worth and value to community you have instilled in me, and which guide your all-inclusiveness, create the foundation of my own relationships with others.

You have always wanted the best for me and have fought to ensure it. On this day of special honor to fathers everywhere, I trust that millions of other American women, young or mature, feel the same bond with their own dragon-slaying fathers. I yearn that their conversations about equal opportunity and boundless possibilities likewise demand constitutional equality for their wives, daughters, granddaughters, and generations ahead.

Your championship of a resounding “yes” on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as a guarantee in the U.S. Constitution fills me with pride and joy. Nowhere is there a father more dedicated to ensuring the pinnacle American dream for his family, both daughters and sons.

The ERA’s text is so logical, yet inspires so much fear among insecure opponents who claim it damages ideals it never even mentions: “Equal rights under the law shall not be denied or   abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.”

You recognize that the ERA guarantees equal protection for every American citizen to ensure that we all – women and men – are afforded equitable opportunity in education, career and life to achieve everything that our loving fathers have dreamed and sweated to achieve for us.

Simply banishing the annual salary loss for each working woman – $7,000 on average in Arizona – under the equality provisions of the ERA will go a long way toward eliminating the chronic financial insecurity spanning generations of households headed by women who ultimately succumb to retirement poverty. Under the ERA, each citizen will experience a richer and fuller lifestyle harmonizing their education, expertise, goals, and contributions to humanity.

I love you dearly, Dad, and am humbled by the sacrifices you have undertaken for me and my successes in life. One day soon, the full equality you have pledged to me will be realized through the addition of the ERA to the U.S. Constitution, and you need not worry so much about the obstacles confronting me. The law will guarantee me equality in opportunity and I will make the absolute most of it, because that’s what you taught me.

Sue Marceau is a public policy advocate at AAUW-Prescott.