WASHINGTON, January 24, 2019 – Democrats Abroad, the largest organization for Americans living overseas, fully supports the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and is calling on state legislatures across the U.S. to move toward its ratification. The action comes just days after a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates rejected the ERA proposal, and after the weekend of the Women’s March, which saw advocates across the country and around the world rally in support of the ERA and gender equality.
“Over eighty-five percent (85%) of the world’s nations protect women’s rights as part of their constitution. The United States is not one of them,” noted Democrats Abroad’s ERA Project Coordinator Shari Temple. “As Americans abroad, many of us live in countries where we have more rights than women do in the United States. Ratifying the ERA is a not a partisan issue but rather a human rights issue: equality of rights under U.S law must not be denied or abridged on account of sex.”
In 2018, Democrats Abroad unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the Democratic Party to support the ratification of the ERA. This has galvanized Americans abroad in support of the organization’s work toward gender equality.
Members are reaching out to legislatures in the thirteen states that have yet to ratify the ERA, while advocating on social media and organizing live events worldwide. This past weekend, Democrats Abroad joined Women’s Marches and hosted events supporting the ERA in countries including Canada, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. Handwritten petitions are also being circulated among Americans in at least seven countries.
Like all constitutional amendments, the ERA must be adopted by three-fourths of states in order to be ratified, a step that advocates have been fighting for since Congress proposed the ERA 47 years ago. This week, a GOP-led subcommittee in the Virginia House rejected the proposal that could have led to Virginia becoming that 38th state. While advocates hope it may be picked up in the full committee, this would most likely require significant public pressure.
“Opponents of the ERA make threats of what could happen when women and men attain equality under U.S. law. With our experience of living, working and raising families in countries where equality for women is a given, we know this is pure nonsense,” explained Anne Hesse, Chair of the Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus. “Enshrining gender equality in the Constitution would benefit not only American women but society as a whole. We call upon state legislatures across the U.S. to affirm our equal rights and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.”