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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Mamaw

My "Mamaw" was born in 1925 in Menard, Texas and probably wasn't today's ideal of a "feminist" – but she influenced my life, and the way I think, more than any one else in my "village"... When I was a young boy she told me stories about how she worked as a teacher, earned her own money but couldn't make some financial decisions for herself – without the consent of her husband ("Papaw") or another male relative. It was the late 70s or the early 80s, and she said that things were "getting better" but that "we are still not even in the *** Constitution!" She talked to me about abortion rights, how little girls are treated differently at home and at school than little boys, the "control" men had over women's lives. That said, I think it's fair to say that my Mamaw had a thing or two to say to my Papaw about women's issues over the years. Papaw had issues he felt strongly about, for sure, but he was smart and probably never crossed her on any of her issues! She taught me that it is important how we raise our children, and what we say to them – especially our sons. And in the back of my head, I hear her words every time I talk to my sons, every time we talk about their mother, their grandmothers, etc. Dorothy Chapman White was a wonderful grandmother, and she taught me that "Men of quality respect women's equality"...  Quaide Williams, Lives in Germany, Votes in Texas

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The ERA is important to me because my family is important to me

Most of us want to think of ourselves as thoughtful, compassionate persons, even when it concerns more than just our immediate families. Our religions and our ethical learnings point us there. But our families are special to us. Mine is to me, including the women -- my wife, sisters, sisters in law, daughter, granddaughter, nieces... I'm determined that they be treated with equal respect by the law and by society at large, and that this CANNOT be taken away from them. That's why I support the ERA: because no one, NO ONE, should be able to treat women with anything less than the full human rights they deserve.  Peter Kaiser - Lives in Switzerland, Votes in MA

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This inequality makes me feel ashamed to be an American.

During the past 100 years American women have been trying to gain assurance that the Constitution assures them the same rights as men. The fear of American men to legalize equality for women has been blocking this amendment from being passed. The fact that this inequality still exists in the richest Democratic country in the world, and not in 88% of the countries, makes me feel ashamed to be an American. Women and men would gain significantly from passing the ERA. We all must dedicate ourselves to this fight until equality is enshrined in our Constitution.   Bob Gould - UK resident, voting in CA

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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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How is NOT acknowledging and protecting womens' equality still a thing?

I was born to a working mom in 1957, and she raised me to believe I could do anything. When I applied (age 15, fully qualified ) to a traditionally all-male Ivy League university, the ancient alumnus interviewer had no interest in learning about me, only in telling me how inappropriate I was and how much of a burden "protecting me" from my older male classmates would be for the institution in loco parentis, and the possible legal exposure. They admitted half a dozen young men my age or younger to that class. I went to Bryn Mawr instead, with plenty of honors. My Ivy League law school? Two different professors let me know I was taking up space and wasting training that a man with a family to support needed, as I was a mere dabbler who would likely quit as soon as she married and had babies. First non-student job with the Federal government, Carter administration? One of 23 attorneys in the office, 4 of us female and under 30, carrying the same workload as Mad Men-era male colleagues, at least with the same pay, but not with the same mentoring and opportunity for professional advancement. Etcetera. Fast forward 40 years, skipping over dozens of other experiences with institutionalized sex discrimination, and I still believe I can do anything. Include VOTE and PAY TAXES. Why doesn't my country acknowledge me and accord me equal status in all things? Canada/Pennsylvania

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We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For

Attending a women's college, which only 2% of American women do, was both empowering and deeply sobering. As part of a community in which women were unapologetically centered, I learned how far from the center we normally reside. There is a reason why 20% of women who serve in Congress, along with 30% of women business leaders, graduated from all-female institutions of higher education. If we want progress, we have to create the legal foundation for its emergence. I have two sons, and I believe that not only their rights, but their potential to experience their full humanity continues to be constricted in a world that both overtly and subtly enshrines men as the standard-bearers of power and authority. I want the ERA for them as much as I do for my beloved goddaughters and nieces. We must demand our rights. No one is going to give them to us unless we insist and persist. I am in this fight with everyone who wants to live in a world where equality is not simply a "norm" half-heartedly enforced, but enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. It's past time. Teresa Ritterhoff, residing in Germany, voting in Illinois

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"Awakening"

The question I asked myself is “why wasn’t I interested in the ERA until relatively recently?” When I married in 1968 – and what a year that was – I was settling into life with my husband and working fulltime. Having my first child in December 1970, and a second 20 months later, didn’t leave much free time. While I was aware peripherally of what was going on nationwide – after all newspapers and television were a source of current information – it didn’t enter my head to engage with anything political or that would involve activism on my part. It wasn’t part of who I was. After 36 years in the US I moved back to the UK where I had been born and educated. As a dual citizen who identified, and still does, as an American, I wanted to stay connected with Americans and given that I had been voting as a Democrat, I became a member of Democrats Abroad UK. Then 2016/2017 happened! I joined and became an active participant in DAUK’s Women’s Caucus, and began to find areas in which I felt I could help to make a difference – the ERA being one of those. I was completely uneducated in this area, was unaware that the ERA had not been ratified, that 85% of all countries worldwide have the ERA in their constitutions yet the USA does not. My awakening has been gradual, but the more that I learned, and realized how little I knew, the more incensed I became that rights that women in the UK take for granted are denied women in the USA – • In Alan Alda’s words – “A woman doesn’t get a discount at the butcher shop for being a woman, but she sure as hell gets a discount in her paycheck for being a woman”. Now that I’ve been ‘awakened’, I want all Americans to know that although 38 States have ratified the ERA, it is still in limbo. The expired deadline is used as the reason for not acknowledging VA as the 38th State and therefore not making this amendment to the constitution official. Each one of us, even one as uneducated as I was about the ERA and who has been a non-activist, can write letters and postcards, email, call elected officials at the Federal, State, and local levels. Inform your local television and radio stations, and newspapers about the ERA and ask them to support removal of the 1982 deadline. And don’t forget that 12 States have not yet ratified the ERA! So, if I was to be asked today “Do you support ratification of the ERA?” my answer would be “You’re darn right I do!” Jessica Neuwirth said, “The text of the Equal Rights Amendment is 24 words: ‘Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on the account of sex.’ You just feel like, Well who could be against that?” Sylvia Wallach Squire – London resident, voting in NC

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This Picture Still Awes Me

I was born in 1968 in Detroit, Michigan and I grew up with a single mom and two sisters in San Francisco, California. My mother and her friends fought hard in the 1970s to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, an effort that unfortunately failed. In our home, we had a powerful poster of a woman with dark black hair dressed like Uncle Sam and pointing her finger at the viewer with a simple message: ERA. I remember looking at this determined woman with awe as a child and the image is something that has followed my sisters and me into adulthood and is hung proudly in my mother’s living room in San Mateo to this day. It is an aspirational message that has yet to become a reality. When I hear the words “All men are created equal,” the inspiring words of the Declaration of Independence, the phrase now strikes me as antiquated. Language matters and leaving women’s rights out of the equation is a reflection of the lack of opportunity and protection under the law that members of our gender have experienced for centuries. It would mean a lot to my mother, my sisters, and me to finally see the ERA become part of the US Constitution so that women and men are equally recognized in the inspiring words of freedom and liberty. For us and many other women in the United States, full recognition of equal rights under the law regardless of gender has been a long time coming. I certainly hope more generations of American women do not have to wait much longer to be able to recognize themselves in the pages ofa founding document of our nation. By Amy Glover in Mexico City. Vote in Maryland. Photo of Carole Drake (76), Molly Glover Gallatin (50), and Kendall Gallatin (15) in California

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We've come so far and yet...

My great aunt and her sister, my grandmother, both graduated from Smith College in the 1920s. The former became a legal secretary who worked for Ohio Senator Atlee Pomerene in Washington DC and was active in numerous associations. The latter became an electrical engineer with General Electric. My mother graduated from Northwestern Nursing School and ended up building a homestead cabin singlehandedly with my dad, a structural engineer. We never talked about politics or ERA. I sincerely look forward to the day my daughter and my grand-daughter will reap the benefits of ERA! Catherine--lives in France and votes in Alaska

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I Am Ashamed

American women have been trying for almost a century to assure that they are accorded the same rights as men by inscribing such equal rights in our Constitution. And for close to 100 years, we have failed due to the refusal and fear of American men to legalize equality for over half of the population. That this is occurring in the richest Democratic country in the world makes me ashamed to be an American. We must continue our fight to get our equality enshrined in our Constitution so we can all be proud of freedom and equality for ALL!  Salli Swartz - Living in France, Voting in PA

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Let´s cross that finish line

We have come a long way, but we still have not reached the finish line. In the United States Constitution women do not have equal rights under the law. Well over 80% of other nations do! When I tried to be an architect major at a state university in Ohio, in 1962, I was discouraged. Not because of grades but because of my sex. In 1963, my sister was denied the opportunity to complete her student teaching, when she revealed she was pregnant. A woman could not appear in front of a class “in that condition”. For my first car loan for a moderately priced car in 1967, which was repaid in 6 months, I had to find a man that would co-sign, even though I had an adequate stable income. While the situation has improved the current legal and judicial systems, often have a negative impact on women. The majority of legislators & judges that make critical decisions, have been male; thus, the male perspective & experience is the norm and not the female perspective & experience. This has affected wages, family planning access, views on violence against women and harassment, childcare options, maternity leave, promotions in the workplace, and much more. It is time women, be not just viewed as equals, but are equal under the law. We owe this to our children and grandchildren, both female & male. Christina - lives in Oslo Norway, and votes in Ohio.

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Glass Ceilings in Technology Sector

I graduated college in the 70s, just at the time when IT was taking off and pulling in lots of new female graduates. Technology was supposed to be the great equalizer because we were all, male and female, getting in on the ground floor at the infancy of this mighty new discipline. But it didn't work out that way. Today only 25% of the technology workforce is female and while there are some prominent female CEOs, I have always found the landscape of middle management in technology companies was completely male dominated. The changes we need are happening at a glacial pace! Of course, we need to get the ERA amendment ratified ASAP. But we also need pro-active programs to equalize pay, promote non-biased hiring practices and promote venture capital flow to women entrepreneurs in the tech sector. After decades of self-questioning and refashioning myself to the demands of a male dominated workplace, my only hope is that my daughter and other young women launching into the workforce now can be more genuine and spontaneous. Here's hoping they sit at conference tables with a gender balance and they have women role models and mentors to show them the ropes. Diane Sklar, France Resident, Vote in NY.

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"Women aren't equal in America? That is crazy, Mom!"

Before we set off on the Women's March here in Munich in 2019, I told my children some of the reasons behind the March and they were genuinely shocked. I agreed with them and lamented, "I can't believe we are still having to fight this fight!" I want my daughters and my son to grow up being proud to be Americans - to know that they come from a society that is truly equal for all people. In 2021, sadly this is still not reality for so many. We have so far to go with gender and race equality in the United States that sometimes it can feel overwhelming, but the ERA is our best tool to ensure women's equality is protected by law and we have to fight for it. The last four years of (non)leadership within America has demonstrated the ever present obstacle of misogyny and how important it is to have women's rights protected and enshrined in law. Achievements have been made and there is no doubt that Vice-President Harris is a role model for all Americans, but her extraordinary position is exactly why we need the ERA now. Let's get to the point where a woman in a leadership role isn't extraordinary, it is just the norm.   Germany Resident, PA voter

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