Why ERA is Important to Me

2021 could be the year that women’s rights are secured in the U.S. Constitution – just 245 years after white men. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is positioned to be the 28th amendment once either the Senate removes the deadline from the 1972 resolution OR the Department of Justice instructs the US Archivist to add it. The threshold of 38 states ratifying it happened in 2020 but it has been held up due to some technicalities. YOU can help promote awareness and action on the ERA. 

Would you like to tell Congress why the ERA is important to you? Here's how: Take a selfie, then add your picture and story in the textbox. You can also make a video and send in the url (just add the link in the textbox).   Your story can be up to 500 words.   If you need more words, just continue with additional posts.

 

Please include your Country of Residence, and Voting State at the end of your story.  Including your Name is optional.

We'll share these stories with Congressional allies to help them in their fight to finally add the ERA to the US Constitution. 
Please note that the stories below are all user submitted and reflect individual opinions. By sharing your story here you are consenting to sharing your story publicly both on this site and with Congress. 

Click here to read the first set of over 100 stories sent on March 25 to the Senate.

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Lock in the progress that we've made

When I was in elementary school I played teeball and baseball on the boy's teams because my town didn't field teams for girls. When I went to college there were buildings with men's bathrooms and women's bathrooms on alternating floors because when some buildings were first built they'd only included bathrooms for men in the floorplans. My first job after graduation, even though I negotiated for higher pay, new male hires made more than I did, a fact easily checked because state institutions had public budgets. When access to facilities or pay or athletics is challenged, there's pushback. Often the burden is placed on the woman to prove that she has been disadvantaged. Thankfully while some of these discrepancies have been addressed over the years, they're too easily reversed, women can lose ground far faster than we were able to gain these rights. It's time to lock in the progress that we've made by adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. From Fiji, Texas Voter Amerika Garcia Grewal
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Too many generations of women in my family have died without seeing the ERA passed.

Having been a political activist beginning in the 60's I have gotten used to "hurry up and wait" experiences and have heard many specious arguments . However, the absolutely baseless arguments against the ERA and the painfully long battle they have engendered is , as the expression goes, getting on "my last nerve". I quit my job to work on the ERA campaign full time after the deadline was extended to June 30, 1982. I worked in Washington and travelled to the three targetted, unratified states and lobbied, helped organize events and supported NOW's leader Eleanor Smeal in her efforts to coordinate the fight against, ignorance and disinformation,, the insurance industry and other business interests and against misogynistic and/or successfully lobbied legislators. I saw and heard things which ruined forever my blind admiration for "public servants" which several members of my family had created by actually delivering service to the public in their elected positions. The legislatures in Oklahoma, Florida and Illiinois didn't ratify and on June 30 I joined with many other men and women across the street from the White House, in shock and mourning. My grandparents, parents, sisters, all of my family struggled to understand why something so fair, reasonable and highly popular was so difficult to achieve. I still struggle 39 years later. Once again the ERA not only makes sense but is absolutely necessary to protect women against the regressive actions of an unprincipled group of leaders in the Republican Senate who have forced their members into similarly unprincipled obstructionism. The right decision would be to do whatever is necessary to get this done. The archivist should be signing, Congress should be overturning an unnecessary and unusual deadline and finally women should be written into the Constitution. The vast majority of people want this to happen. Most of the rest aren't paying attention or are misinformed or are involved with a business which profits from discriminating against women. If this doesn't happen, I can only say with confidence that the rising tide of women with political, social and economic power will use it to replace those who have fought against women's rights and opportunities. When I think of my grandmothers and my mother, I am very aware of how their opportunities were limited. When I think of myself and my sisters, I think of the many battles we had to fight , law by law, to even approach a playing field, never mind a level one. My nieces and my nephews daughters will not accept what we put up with. They won't fight over and over again for the same crumbs. They will demand and, I assure you they will get what we have always deserved and nothing less. Check the numbers, boys, and do the math. What you've been doing isn't smart, isn't popular, and isn't in the public good. So, let's try something different, shall we? Marnie Delaney/ Living in France/Vote in California

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Washington for Equal Rights!

Unbelievably, we are still considering whether or not to acknowledge, in legislation, that women have full and complete personhood. It should not be partisan, nor controversial, to declare in the law that equal protection, equal rights, and equal access to society for women should be enshrined in the US Constitution. As a Washingtonian, and graduate of Holy Names Academy (an all-girls high school in Seattle), I'm aware that there are a wide variety of views in WA about what *kind* of protections we should offer to women, specifically with respect to access to reproductive healthcare. Yet, as we are led by fantastic women at all levels in Washington, like Senators Murray and Cantwell, the legacy of Governor Gregoire, and dynamic congresspeople like my 8th district's own Dr. Shrier, I believe that our support for the ERA is essential. Washington leads the way in so many social and economic issues; there is no issue more fundamental than the equal rights of women. If support for the equal rights of women implies that we must make changes at the local, state, and national level, then the structures that need change *already* exist, and we should already feel called to change the structures that perpetuate inequality for women, especially women of color, in the United States. ERA Now! Proud Washington voter, living in Paris.

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Now is the Time to Pass the Equal Rights Amendment

I only learned a few years ago that women did not have equal rights under the law. When I heard this, I was truly shocked that this was even possible. Thanks to the women's movement, much progress has been made and women have gained a lot of ground over the years. But there is still a ways to go and the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment would be a huge step forward. This should not be a partisan issue. When the rights of one group are taken away, we are all affected. We will all benefit by ensuring that no one can be discriminated against based on their sex. It is up to us to continue the work that began in 1923 when Alice Paul first introduced the Equal Rights Amendment and was continued in the 1970s and 80s. We cannot give up and stop now. There is no other choice, but to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment once and for all. I am an Indiana voter that lives in Berlin, Germany.

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Now is the Time--Equal Rights for Women is a Human Right

An a woman who was born in 1965, it is incredible to me that the Equal Right Amendment is still not in the Constitution! I've had the luxury of standing on the shoulders of the women in the generations before me to have access to the same educational opportunities as my brothers, to go to university and law school, and to have a career as an attorney. And as a married woman with children, I have the peace of mind of knowing that I am in control of my own destiny and those of my children, and not dependent, either legally or financially, solely on my partner. All women in the US must be assured of these same rights! It is a travesty that it has taken so long for this basic right to be recognized and for there to be any further delay in adding the ERA to the Constitution. I live in Canada and vote in California.

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Inspired By My Grandmother

My grandmother was a Florida resident. After she got married in her early 20's, the government essentially treated her as the property of my grandfather. All documents and contracts had to be signed by him, whether or not he was the principal or purchaser or whatever. She had a modeling contract that had to be updated when she got married. When they moved to a new state, she could not get a driver's license without my grandfather being at the DMV office, also.

By the time she passed away, things were improved. But she never forgot that both the state and federal governments had treated her, if not as property, then as an adjunct to her husband. That is why I support the ERA. It must be codified in the constitution that women are in no way lesser beings under the laws of the United States. Karl Barth; in Spain; Florida voter.

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ERA Now!

What a shame that there’s even a need for the ERA! But there is and I want my grandchildren, who live in Florida, to grow up knowing they have the right to be treated fairly, equally and with respect. As a young adult ready to head out into the real world as a woman, no one told me I could or should go to college. My parents encouraged my brothers to go to college or follow their dreams, but for me it was a given that I would get married, have kids, and be a homemaker. Instead, I joined the military then used the GI Bill benefit to pay for my education. The US was a republic for 150 years before women got the right to vote. In 50 years we haven’t been able to get the ERA passed. It’s time to pass the ERA now! -- Andrea Host-Barth: Living in Spain; Voting in Florida

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All Women Deserve Equal Rights — Especially Single Mothers

Why is the ERA important to me? Well, in America, nearly 60% of poor children are living in single-mother families. I‘m married ,and my children have never experienced poverty. But I can‘t say that for too many kids in America. I‘ve lived in western Europe for nearly 3 decades, and other countries take steps to keep most children out of poverty. America does not, and one reason has to do with the gender pay gap. When the Equal Pay Act was passed during the Kennedy Administration, women earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. The gender gap has persisted — it’s nearly 60 years later, and women now earn 75 cents for every dollar earned by men, and lower if the woman is non-white. Many of these women are mothers, and this pay gap contributes to impoverishing their children. An Equal Rights Amendment will give working mothers the legal recourse to end this practice. Rights eclipse legislation, because while politicians can change laws with a majority vote, they cannot change rights. Passing the ERA won‘t change practices overnight, but women can begin the process of establishing symmetry in the workforce. It‘s important to me to end child poverty, and giving working mothers the legal standing to demand fair wages is one tool to fix that. Tanya Lolonis Residing in Austria, voting in California

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Strong women

I am a 52 year old male who was raised by a strong mother who worked harder than anyone I know to raise and provide for her four children. My father's wage at a northern Wisconsin paper factory wasn't nearly enough to support our family, and my mother had an office job requiring many more skills and a higher level of education than my my father's job. Nevertheless, she only earned about half of what my dad did. If the ERA had been passed decades ago, our struggling middle class family could have had a level of prosperity more reflective of the level of the work ethic and skills my mother brought into her work. Women have been the backbone of American families, providing for their children by working inside and outside of the home. It is an abomination that women still don't have complete equality in the US, and it is high time that all people in power step up to ratify the ERA.  Living in Germany, Voting in Wisconsin

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The Equal Rights Act is long overdue - now is the time!

The ERA was a hot topic when I was in high school in the 1970s. One of my friends claimed that the ERA would give men the right to use women's bathrooms. Women would be at risk. Where did my friend get this? At church. A scare tactic to drum up opposition to equal rights for all. Some things never change: we're hearing the same fear mongering today to justify laws that bar transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Equality is about improving lives. It’s nothing to be afraid of. The best way to protect girls and women is to guarantee us equal rights under the US Constitution. Martha, a California voter living in the Netherlands

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Vote to Ratify the ERA Now; Waiting 97 Years Should Embarrass Us

I recently looked through my high school yearbook Class of '62 and was struck by the fact that all my female classmates limited their hoped-for future occupations to teacher, nurse, beautician, or secretary: no lawyers, doctors, engineers or US Presidents. In college, I remember hearing from female classmates that some of the faculty were discouraging them from going to graduate school because they would be taking the place of a man who might then be drafted and sent to Viet Nam. Some recent news, such as the election of our first female Vice-President can be seen as grounds for optimism. Yet women still need to pass niceness tests and glass ceilings are all too real. Enough! We need the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the Constitution to help us validate the beliefs that motivated our founders to declare us an independent nation. I urge my Senators to support and vote for SJRes1 to eliminate deadline for ERA validation. Resides in France; Votes in Massachusetts

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Equality for My Heroes

Most of my heroes are women. My mother, an artist and writer, possesses the most adventurous, curious and brilliant mind I've ever known and inspires me unendingly as I travel through life. My wife, a professional violist, is easily one of the boldest, most exciting musicians I've had the pleasure to hear perform live; she gives me the drive to achieve my best in my own musical career. Among those who influence me from afar are the likes of Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Cara Santa Maria. Women have had an unequal effect on the person I am today, and it's high time they are no longer treated unequally in our otherwise modern country. Equal treatment is the least we can ask for and we should settle for no less. Let us delay no longer. Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment immediately! Oklahoma voter, German resident.

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No illusions - but it's long past time for the ERA

I don't have any illusions that passing the ERA will magically bring gender equality to the US. I don't believe passing the ERA will suddenly fix the systemic inequalities and racism that Black women and women of color face every day. But there is no reason for the U.S. Constitution not to prohibit sex-based discrimination. It says a lot about the United States that it doesn't already. All I need to do is look at who opposes the ERA, and why, to understand why the ERA is necessary - but not sufficient - to bring down the patriarchal system that has held women, and especially women of color, back for centuries. I owe a lot to the women who came before me and fought for the ERA, and I owe it to the women around me now to make equal rights more than a slogan, but an inclusive movement that touches every aspect of our lives. --Naomi (I live in Norway and vote (proudly) in New Jersey.)

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“the rising of the women is the rising of the race”

I try to be a MENSCH … a good person. It isn’t easy, especially alone. In my Jewish Tradition, there have been women, Rebecca, Miriam, Deborah, Esther, Ruth, Judith, etc., that overcame, not only threats to our people, but our own patriarchy that added an extra level of difficulties to help all the Jews. Our world has so many problems to solve, and we need all-hands-on-deck to try and solve them. But we need to un-tether ALL these hands, because only free hands can accomplish all we have to do. Add to that the beauty of creation in this world, art, music, … Hindering these creative women … & men just lessens our lives. The song says, “the rising of the women is the rising of the race”.   Living in Germany, Voting in NY

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A moral marker for who we are

Growing up as the son of a single mom, I can recall a number of moments when she openly and publicly challenged what she perceived to be unjustified inequality in how she was treated based on the mere fact that she was a woman. These ranged from manifest restrictions in certain religious contexts to more systematic gaps in society at large. I don't know if she meant it to be so overt, but these are some of the earliest moral lessons she passed on to her son. Looking back, and reflecting on how she and I have grown since then, I can say that she showed me that equality for women is a powerful issue that transcends political boundaries.

As a man, I believe that we need the Equal Rights Act because we it is clear to me that the steps the US has taken to ensure that American women are legally equal to men are far from enough. It is not enough that women are able to vote (enshrined in the 19th Amendment). (This kind of thinking was first taken up first at local and state levels before it became part of the Constitution. The early examples set by Wyoming and Utah towards equal voting rights for women show that this issue is one that cuts across political boundaries.) It is not enough that the private sector tries, in its own way, to correct for these problems. We need to take this issue up at the highest level: the Constitution. Our Constitution is our moral core. Amendments to it are aspirational markers for who we are and what we want to be as a country. Some of them are may appear to be technicalities, or merely define terms in a previously undefined space. Other amendments have a more obvious moral aspect to them. The Bill of Rights, for instance, and the amendments passed in the wake of the Civil War, as well as the 19th Amendment, make our moral backbone most most clearly visible. But we are not there yet.

A man with any moral sense and honesty can see this gap. He should acknowledge our moral blind spot, and those in positions of power should understood their power to make a difference. The fact that our Constitution is open to amendment is a recognition that it is incomplete. America changes, and with it so should our Constitution. For my mother, my wife, and my daughters, I want to see the ERA become the next amendment. I want it for all American women who are limited in ways that I can see, and especially for the ways that I don't, or can't. Please do you part to lay down a moral marker that says that equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged anywhere in the US on account of sex.  Lives in Germany, votes in California

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Hoosier pride calls us to continue the fight for ERA

My home state of Indiana became the 35th and last state to ratify the ERA on January 18, 1977. Since then it has stalled. Just two years ago, Hoosiers marked the passing of Indiana Senator Birch Bayh. Bayh considered his authorship of Title IX of the Higher Education Act, guaranteeing women equal access to educational and athletic programs as among his greatest achievements. It´s how he met his wife Marvella, who was denied admission to the University of Virginia solely based on her gender. In 1972 just out of the Navy, I was admitted to Loyola University School of Law, Los Angeles where my class was the first anywhere to admit as many women as men. What a gift at the time and looking back! I´ve never underestimated women as colleagues or professional adversaries. Today, I have a daughter who is a lawyer and law professor. My granddaughter is finishing her first year at Purdue. Yet both of them continue to face needless obstacles. These could be removed with passage of the ERA. Is there any possible reason NOT to make equal rights for women the law of the land? They´ve long done so in Norway, the country of my residence since 2014. Everyone benefits, especially we men! Could not the state in which I still proudly register and vote, my Indiana, not continue to make it a reality? Respectfully, Andrew J. Stites, registered Indiana voter residing permanently in Norway since 2014.

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The ERA Is Needed More Than Ever in 2021!

In September 1966, I started college at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, only learning there was a quota in place (8 males/1 female) when I got there. Four years later there were still quotas at law schools.  I did get in (in a class of 200 men and 25 women), faced discrimination when job-hunting and found the time-honored solution of work in the federal government.  Living in New York City, Bella Abzug was my Congresswoman and the second wave of the feminist movement was in full swing.  Naively I believed the tide was turning and, in fact, I benefitted from other women’s battles:  Chase Manhattan Bank had been sued for sex discrimination in the early ‘70’s and reached a settlement, so I was welcomed with open arms when I applied in London in 1977. 

Good assignments and promotions came in line with my male colleagues until I returned to work after my first child and a three-month maternity leave.  My boss called me into his office, said he was glad to have me back, but I was not going to get a pay review due in the next month.  He wanted to see at least six months’ performance as confirmation that I was still “committed” to my job.  I loved the job, was fortunate to have a healthy baby, a supportive husband and an excellent nanny, so I “put up and shut up.” 

Later in my financial career there were more instances of discrimination in both pay and promotion, but the work was engaging and I conveniently bought into the story that women were moving towards pay equality and into leadership positions.  Fast forward to 2021 and the global gender data shows equality has not happened anywhere in the world. 

Even worse, the Covid pandemic has brought into sharp relief the expectation that women will sacrifice their work and careers to pick up the unpaid burden of caring for children and older relations.  In the United States this is aggravated by the failure to provide adequate child and elder care.  Many women are paying the well-documented “motherhood penalty”, where employers tend to deny women pay increases, promotions, and  important assignments, and single them out for cutbacks and layoffs.   

The ERA is critical as the legal basis to continue the fight for gender equality. Moving toward parity in leadership will also help end a culture of systemic misogyny, where some men (too many of those in power) continue to belittle women’s contribution to economic prosperity and well-being.   Data now shows that, as richer countries improve women’s status on the scale towards economic equality, their increased contribution significantly improves the countries’ economic growth and well-being.  I will reiterate:  there is no country yet where women have gender pay parity.  This is strong evidence that this inequality is systemic.  For American women the barriers are formidable, and the timing is critical as the pandemic ends: the ERA will give substantial legal support to the case for parity as women return to the American workforce in the next 12 – 18 months.    WE NEED THE ERA NOW!!!  

Carol Moore, live in London, vote in Florida.

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It’s Been Too Long Coming, But a Change Needs to Come!

I was very active during the 1960s in the Civil Rights movement, and I can say that for most of my life I have been fighting for my Civil Rights. I am a Black man who has always thought myself to be well informed and very current on Civil Rights matters. It was not until 2019 that I first began to understand what the ERA was really all about, when a Democrats Abroad colleague explain the issue in a manner that it all registered for me. I had heard of the Equal Rights Amendment, but I had never thought of it as Civil Rights Legislation, again because I really did not know what it was all about. Little did I know that women had not been granted equal protection under the law in the U.S. Constitution. My mother and grandmothers were some of the strongest women that I have ever known, and if anybody deserved equal protection under the law, they did. Most women that I have encountered in my lifetime were probably more deserving of those protections than most men that I know. Who would be against such an amendment passing? I really don’t begin to understand what the opposition would have been in the past, nor what it is today to this amendment. This is a fundamental Human Rights! I understand the procedural hurdle of 38 states not having ratified the document in ten years, but why is that timeline sacred? Just drop the ten-year requirement! This is very important, and we have to get this done. One hundred years to make this happen, come on we should be better than that! Please let’s make this a reality now! My name is Robert Scott, I vote in Texas, and I’m currently living in Germany.

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Enough is enough

Here's a picture of my kids. They're standard teenagers. Yet one of these young people will have a much easier time throughout life simply because he was born male. Statistically, he will not have to work as hard to get better grades, he will find it easier to get a bank loan, he will be invited to more job interviews and be more succesful getting a high-paying job, then be assigned a mentor who will ensure he optimises his career. He will never have to make a decision ":kids or career", he can have it all. And all that without the ever-present fear of being attacked by a boyfriend or a stranger, of having his drink spiked, of being visciously mocked online (and brutally IRL) if he dares to insist on his space, his time, his voice. Why should he be entitled to an easier life , a better-paying career, more standing in society than his sisters? WHY?? I say enough is enough: American girls and women deserve to be treated EQUALLY, and if society can't manage to do that on its own, then we need the law to do it for us. Country of Residence: Belgium Voting state: New York 

PS I love all my kids equally!

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Womens Rights are Human Rights

Women's rights are human rights. I shouldn't have to rely on the goodwill of a manager to find out that I am getting paid less than my less-qualified male coworker. I shouldn't have to worry that my access to medical can be abridged or denied based on my gender. I shouldn't have to do a lot of things, just because of my gender. But I do. The least the government can do to protect us is enshrine our rights. Erin Watson, Lives in Republic of Korea, Votes in New Mexico.

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