This year, the board of EPW-NYC asks the membership to consider educating and advocating for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States. The timing of this effort towards finally acquiring the passage in the states needed to pass the amendment is just right. Women in this country have come to accept as their right many of the laws that have been enacted to protect particular rights. However, none of these rights, save the right to vote, are granted by the Constitution a fact that over 70% of respondents to polls are unaware. Polls have shown that over 90% of respondents are in favor of equal rights for women.
The text of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment reads:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
- Without the ERA, the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee that the rights it protects are held equally by all citizens without regard to sex. The first — and still the only — right specifically affirmed as equal for women and men is the right to vote.
- The equal protection clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment was first applied to sex discrimination only in 1971, and it has never been interpreted to grant equal rights on the basis of sex in the uniform and inclusive way that the ERA would.
The Equal Rights Amendment is needed to affirm constitutionally that the bedrock principles of our democracy — “all men are created equal,” “liberty and justice for all,” “equal justice under law,” “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” — apply equally to women.
Although, arguably, there has been a great deal of legislation passed overtime, that gives women substantial legal equality, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg has noted “legislation can be changed.” It is past time to give women the same rights and responsibilities that men have guaranteed by the Consititution. Subtle discrimination and paternalistic attitudes must give way to reality: women must now demand that they be recognized as full citizens and let go of any notion that their gender gives a sort of special status or that piecemeal, state by state legislation grants them the full rights of citizens of the United State. Women have an uncertain status, not guaranteed by the Constitution of the greatest nation in the world and women have certainly played their part in making it great. There is no time more appropriate than this to guarantee our rights.
August 26, 2015
Commemorating women’s equality one day a year isn’t enough; Congresswoman Maloney joins Hochul, and Quinn to call for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and releases new report outlining inequalities women face in the economy today.
August 26, 2015 the 44th Annual Women’s Equality Day and the 95th anniversary of the 19thAmendment granting women the right to vote
NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) was joined by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Special Advisor to the Governor Christine Quinn, and several local leaders and elected officials to celebrate the 44th Annual Women’s Equality Day and call for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Maloney, the House sponsor of the ERA, announced her intention to send a letter to the House Judiciary Committee Chairman and the Ranking Member urging them to schedule a hearing on the ERA.
Maloney also released a new Joint Economic Committee Democratic staff report outlining the inequality women still face in today’s economy.
“In 1920, the 19th Amendment changed women’s lives in the United States forever,”said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “After years of silence and second class citizenship, women were finally granted a voice and the essential right to vote. It’s been almost a century since then, and the struggles women still face make it clear that we are long past due for another life changing amendment: the Equal Rights Amendment. As this new JEC staff report clearly shows, women are still fighting for equal pay for equal work, paid family leave, equal protection in cases of child custody, and more. We need to end discrimination on the basis of gender and include at long last the word ‘women’ in the constitution. This Women’s Equality Day let us celebrate the great battles women have won, and gear up for the fight ahead.”
“Women’s equality is more than just a slogan: It is a call to action to enable women of all backgrounds to fulfill their potential,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “From women’s suffrage to the Equal Rights Amendment, New York has always been a progressive leader in these areas of national importance. I am proud to stand with Congresswoman Maloney and others in recognition of Women’s Equality Day as our fight continues to move full steam ahead.”
Also in attendance at the event were: Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer; Queens Borough; President Melinda Katz; Councilmember Margaret Chin; Councilmember Inez Dickens; Councilmember Helen Rosenthal; State Senator Liz Krueger; Assemblymember Deborah Glick; Assemblymember Margaret Markey, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas; New York State Democratic Vice Chair Trudy L. Mason.
“The anniversary of the 19th Amendment is a day to mark our progress – and how much more we need to fight for,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “White women are paid 77% of what men earn—a gap that hasn’t changed since 2002. Even more startling, Hispanic women earn 55 cents on the white male dollar, while African-American women earn 64 cents on that dollar. On issues ranging from equal pay and workplace equality to reproductive rights and beyond, we must recommit ourselves to expanding on the progress we’ve made.”
“95 years ago today, American women declared victory in the generations-long struggle to win the right to vote,” said New York State Senator Liz Krueger. “There has been considerable progress since then in the fight for women’s equality, but the pace of change has not been nearly fast enough. I thank Congresswoman Maloney and the 185 bipartisan cosponsors of the Equal Rights Amendment for pushing to make every day Women’s Equality Day.”
“The Equal Rights Amendment proclaims the plain and simple truth that women deserve equal treatment under the law. Why then is it so hard for Congress to pass this bill? I join Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Cynthia Lummis in calling on the House Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on this legislation that would serve half of their constituency,” said New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
“Women’s Equality Day celebrates the women’s suffrage movement and recognizes the essential thread that women have woven into the fabric of our society. Women have contributed so much to the betterment of our nation, and their strides have challenged stereotypes and social assumption of what women are capable of. As we celebrate the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, let us be inspired by our pioneers and their stories as we press on forward for equal rights and pay. Let’s finish what Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman started over a century ago by passing the Equal Rights Amendment that is a vital piece of legislation that supports gender equality in our pursuit of life, liberty and justice for all,” said Councilmember Inez E. Dickens.
“From the Seneca Falls Convention more than one hundred and fifty years ago to today, New York and the women of New York have led the way in the fight for full equality,” said Assemblymember Simotas. “We have a unique opportunity with the exceptional leadership of the women gathered here today to join with Congresswoman Maloney to make the Equal Rights Amendment part of this proud tradition.”
“While today is about celebrating American women gaining the right to vote, it is also about bringing attention to the fact that nearly a century after we gained that right, there is still work that needs to be done,” said Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright. “Congresswoman Maloney has been reminding America of this very real fact by introducing the Equal Rights Amendment in Congress year after year. And though it is shocking that women still do not have this protection, even more alarming is that today – in 2015 – the Equal Rights Amendment still does not have the support it needs. I thank Congresswoman Maloney for her tireless fight for women’s equality and hope that we can all come together in the near future to celebrate the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.”
“Democrats are proud that New York State Democratic members of Congress have been leading the fight for women’s rights and the ERA over the years,” said New York State Democratic Vice Chair Trudy L. Mason. “It is an honor to be here this morning with so many influential women as Congresswoman Maloney carries on our tradition.”
Francesca Burack, President, and Liz Irwin, By-Laws chair, were invited to represent EPW-NYC at this event.
After an almost 70 year battle, on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment became a part of the Constitution and granted women the right to vote. In 1971 the U.S. Congress designated August 26th as “Women’s Equality Day” at the urging of Congresswoman Bella Abzug (D-NY). Women’s Equality Day celebrates women’s hard-fought battles, but also calls attention to the work that still must be done in the continuing efforts for full equality. According to the new JEC Democratic Staff Report, women hold only 5 percent of CEO positions and only 17 percent of board seats at Fortune 500 companies. Women also earn approximately 78 percent of what men earn for the same work, costing women $10,800 in lost earnings per year. A full copy of the JEC report can be found attached.
First drafted by Alice Paul in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment (which when adopted would become the 28th Amendment) has not been added to the Constitution. The ERA passed in Congress in 1972, and was sent to the states for ratification. However, by the time the allotted deadline had passed in 1982, the ERA was just three states shy of the thirty-eight ratifications necessary for inclusion in the Constitution. Congresswoman Maloney has introduced the Amendment ten times during her tenure in Congress. Most recently Maloney introduced the bill, H.J.Res. 52, with Republican co-lead Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis. The bill has received bipartisan support and currently has 185 cosponsors.