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The Equal Rights Amendment

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The Equal Rights Amendment

"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged
by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

     In 1923, this statement was admitted to Congress under the Equal Rights
Amendment (ERA). The ERA was a proposed amendment to the United States
Constitution granting equality between men and women under the law. If the Era
was passed, it would have made unconstitutional any laws that grant one sex
different rights than the other. However, in the 1970s, the Era was not passed,
and therefore did not become law.

     The idea for an equal rights amendment first became acknowledged in the
early part of the twentieth century. In 1916, Alice Paul founded the National
Women's party (NWP), a political party dedicated to establishing equal rights
for women. Traditionally, women were viewed as weaker and inferior to men. The
purpose of the ERA was to prohibit any person from acting on this belief. Alice
Paul viewed that equality under the law was the foundation essential to full
equality for women.

     In November of 1922, the NWP voted to work for a federal amendment that
could guarantee women's equal rights regardless of legislatures' indecisions.
The NWP had 400 women lobbying for equality.

     Despite strong opposition by some women and men, the NWP introduced and
Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1923. In order to
become law, the amendment needed a two-thirds vote in bo...

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