March is women's history month. Did you know the U.S. Constitution doesn't treat men and women as equals?
168 countries include gender equality in the constitution. America does not. Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment delivers on America's promise of liberty and justice for everyone - including women.
Artists are pushing for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to add gender equality to Constitution by an Artists 4 ERA / VoteEquality campaign. They are creating new art that depicts diverse groups and communities, including LGBTQIA+, Black women, women of color, Indigenous peoples, and young people, to help them see themselves in the struggle for equal rights in the Constitution. The art created for the project will financially support VoteEquality’s work to ensure gender equality is part of our Constitution through online and live releases of limited edition, signed ERA art prints. Their first event of a nationwide tour is in Oakland on March 19th, 2022.
The Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment was first drafted in 1923 by two leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman. For women’s rights advocates, the ERA was the next logical step following the successful campaign to win access to the ballot through the adoption of the 19th Amendment. They believed that enshrining the principle of gender equality in our founding charter would help overcome many of the obstacles that kept women as second-class citizens. While the text of the amendment has changed over the years, the gist of it has remained the same. The version approved by Congress in 1972 and sent to the states reads:
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”
What ERA accomplishes
#FixOurConstitution Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States and gender equality is missing. This “equality gap” negatively impacts our justice system and enables gender discrimination. Advocate for gender equality to get the equitable future we deserve.
#EqualityNotHypocrisy Our national leaders spend time and money promoting gender equality in other countries, but not at home. As a result, our international gender equality rank continues to fall – we are currently #53 out of 153 countries.
The 28th Amendment directly impacts government action, the first cases would focus on gender discrimination by the government and would include protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. These cases could include challenging:
- Employment situations like hiring, firing, advancement, pay equality, medical accommodation, etc. in federal, state, and local government (issue overview, Pew Research Center)
- How our military handles sexual harassment and assaults (issue overview, Military Times)
- Length and availability of paternity leave as compared to maternity leave (issue overview, WhatToExpect.com)
- Inherent discrimination of major backlogs of untested rape kits as well as uninvestigated rapes (issue overview, The Atlantic)
- Significantly higher rates at which women are sent to jail for self-defense (issue overview, The New Yorker)
- Discriminatory medical and safety research protocols (issue overview, National Women’s Law Center)
- Law enforcement not sufficiently trained for addressing gender violence and minimizing / ignoring gender-based crimes (example, Washington Post)
- Gender discrimination experienced by citizens during incarceration (issue overview, ABA Journal)
- Discriminatory implementation of laws regarding sex trafficking (issue overview, Equality Now)
- Discriminatory implementation of nuisance laws and evictions (issue overview, ACLU and The Atlantic)
- Child custody in highly contested divorce cases with domestic violence in the home (issue overview, Stop Abuse Campaign)
- Lack of kits, training, and forensic nurses for sexual assault intake at hospitals (example, ABC News)
Equality, diversity, and inclusion are American imperatives. To dismantle systemic inequality, these values must be priorities for policy makers in 2020 and beyond. We need your help to elevate these values in conversations and onto major party platforms. Over 165 constitutions include gender equality and so should ours. VoteEquality evolved from VAratifyERA and is led by a diverse group of experienced advocates from the last three states to ratify (Virginia, Illinois, and Nevada).