I remember well when my grandmother, a university lecturer at BYU, (with whom I was living with at the time) informed the family that she had been refused an expected pay raise, to match the raises all the men in her department had received, with the explanation that “the men had families to support.” My grandmother was, in fact, the “bread-winner” supporting our household and the one solely caring for her extended family. It puzzled me then, as a young boy, and it remains confounding to me now, how differences in hiring and compensation could be justified on the basis of sex, rather than appropriately based on competence and qualifications for one’s job.
While we, as a country, have no doubt made some progress since my grandmother was denied fair compensation based solely on her sex, there is still a prevailing premise of differences between men and women that has not yet been corrected in America and that leads to continued discrimination – both intentional and unintentional.
At a protest march a few years back, my photo was captured by a journalist and featured in Cosmopolitan Online magazine with the caption “woman holds protest poster”. I am not bothered in the least by any potential gender confusion here, but rather, I am proud to stand with all my fellow citizens in stating that we need to formally ratify and adopt the ERA to end any further forms of discrimination on the basis of sex. —Merrill Oates, Utah voter in Hungary.