It might be 2019, but equality isn’t protected in the US.
The American constitution is the guiding document for the US, but it still doesn’t enshrine equal rights for all citizens.
Which is why politicians and celebrities are campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment, which calls for a guarantee of equal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex, to be ratified.
The amendment was originally written by Alice Paul, head of the National Women’s Party and introduced for the first time in the early Twenties. At the time, it read: “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.
“Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
The current version, which was approved in 1972, has three sections, the first of which says: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
However, the amendment requires ratification by a minimum of 38 US states; by the deadline of March 22 1979, only 35 states had done so.
This week a number of moves to get the ERA ratified were announced. Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney and Republican Representative Tom Reed, who both represent New York, are sponsoring legislation to restart the ratification process. Jackie Speier, Democratic Representative for California, is behind a joint resolution that seeks to remove the deadline for ratification.
Maloney has said that women’s rights are “under attack”, and this is “happening, in part, because our constitution does not contain the word ‘women’”.
At an event this week to announce the plans, actresses Patricia Arquette and Alyssa Milano called for the ERA to be ratified.
“We have waited too long,” said Arquette. “We cannot wait another century, another decade, another year, or another month. We need constitutional protection for women.”
Milano said that equality is an “issue of basic human dignity”.
Maloney said: “We are here standing shoulder to shoulder because now is the time, this is the moment when we are going to, at long last, make women equal.
“The #MeToo movement, the Time’s Up movement, the women’s marches and the victory of 127 women to the US Congress all point to one indisputable fact: the women of this nation are demanding to not only be heard but to be listened to.
“We are demanding a seat at the table and we are ready to make equality a reality.”