Why We Need an Equal Rights Amendment

paige nehls

Feminist Paige Nehls, 17, attends Guilford College.

by Paige Nehls
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex” reads Section One of the current proposed Equal Rights Amendment written by Carla Cunningham.

Why is this statement even necessary? Because while we have a president as the leader of our country, misogyny reigns as king.

Since Dr. Alice Paul first proposed the ERA in 1923 American women have been subjected to a maelstrom of sexist abuse for simply demanding to be treated as citizens with equal rights under the law.

While women aren’t being attacked in the streets or arrested for protesting for our rights, we are being paid less. We are not getting jobs because we may one day become pregnant. We are being thrown in prison for failing to protect our children from male batterers. This is all happening in America, the supposed most progressive nation in the world. (I added the last part just for the man who said to me “Where is this patriarchal culture you live in? Do you live in Yemen or Pakistan?” To answer your question, I live in  America–the country that accepts you attacking me for demanding to have rights to my body).

That is sexism. That is the reality of life for women in this country and around the globe. Continue reading

Posted in Related Articles | Leave a comment


“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” is the attitude of many legislative and congressional leaders regarding equal rights for women and men.

To overcome resistance, ignorance, and apathy on the part of many political leaders, a diverse group of supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment participated in a statewide conference, “The ERA—Give a Damn” in Greensboro on October 24. RATIFY ERA-NC sponsored the program.

Featured speakers were:

  • Floyd McKissick, primary ERA sponsor in the Senate; Marena Groll of NC4ERA introduced him.

Senator Floyd McKissick, primary ERA author in the Senate, speaks with Marena Groll of NC4ERA.

  • Carla Cunningham, primary sponsor in the House; Pat Sledge of Business and Professional Women NC introduced her.
  • Melinda Lowrance, NAACP President in Henderson County and a member of the RATIFY ERA-NC leadership team; she was introduced by Lee Luebbe of the League of Women Voters of Henderson County. Melinda discussed “Why Women of Color Need the ERA.”
Melinda Lowrance of the NAACP and RATIFY ERA-NC (left) and Lee Luebbe of the League of Women Voters and RATIFY ERA-NC consider strategies.

Melinda Lowrance of the NAACP and RATIFY ERA-NC (left) and Lee Luebbe of the League of Women Voters and RATIFY ERA-NC consider strategies.

  • Organizing the event were Roberta Madden, Black Mountain; and Nancy Glowacki, Hendersonville, who led discussions on strategy.

Continue reading

Posted in Related Articles | Leave a comment

Chasing the Mythical Equal Rights Amendment

by Sara Lang http://www.womenadvancenc.org

For women of my generation, the push to pass and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) seems almost mythical. We were just wee little ones, or maybe not even born yet, when the movement was at its height. Today, many of us think the ERA is already the law of the land. Some of us probably think it’s not necessary at all. [read more…]


Posted in Related Articles | Leave a comment

The American Ethical Union Resolves to Eliminate Congress’ Deadline for Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

JUNE 2015 — At the 100th American Ethical Union Assembly, held in Stamford, CT, representatives of the member Ethical Societies passed a resolution to eliminate Congress’ deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Read the resolution here.
The current resolution cites the AEU’s continued dedication to achieving equal rights for all regardless of sex or gender. The Equal Rights Amendment will require the Supreme Court to apply the highest “‘strict scrutiny standard’ of judicial protection in cases of sex or gender discrimination as is applied in cases of racial, religious, and national origin discrimination.” It states that “if democratic societies are built upon the notion of equality for all human beings, then the path to achieve equality must exist in perpetuity.”

The AEU urges its members and affiliates to advocate to their Congressional representatives and senators to eliminate the deadline and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Continue reading

Posted in Related Articles | Leave a comment

41 years on, ERA still in limbo

by David Madden, GUEST COLUMNIST, Asheville Citizen-Times (August 28th, 2015)

davidmadden1I happened yesterday upon a yellowed newspaper clipping of a 1974 Mother’s Day newspaper editorial headline — “ERA: IT’S TIME NOW FOR RATIFICATION.” I thought at the time that the editorial stated the case vigorously, lucidly, and convincingly, and that it helped a good many women and men who had been moving toward approval to reach a final decision to favor ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. And that it persuaded others to turn from emotional, fearful reaction to intelligent analysis of the facts and the actual rather than pseudo-issues.

Now 41 years later, the ERA languishes, needing only three more states for ratification. In 1974, I was convinced that the consciousness of women and men had risen from ridicule to reason in response to the Women’s Rights movement, and I confidently expected that state legislators would demonstrate that they had been involved in that process of change. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meryl Streep Lobbies for Equal Rights for Women

Meryl Streep (Image Source: Andreas Tai via Wikimedia Commons)

Meryl Streep, who will be playing British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst in the film Suffragette, has lobbied Congress to revive the equal rights amendment.

Read the story by Laura Tucker on AllMediaNY

Posted in Related Articles | Leave a comment

ERA is alive and kicking in NC and nationally

North Carolina – “the big hairy foot”

Although the North Carolina General Assembly has not yet acted on the Equal Rights Amendment during its current session, the Senate version is still alive.

Under a Senate rule, constitutional amendments are exempt from the April 30 crossover deadline, which requires that one house or the other must pass legislation by that date in order to keep it alive for the 2015-2016 term. Therefore, S.184 by Senators Floyd McKissick, Terry Van Duyn, Paul A. Lowe, Jr., and Mike Woodard remains viable. The big hairy foot trampling in the pansy bed is the Senate Rules Committee, which has so far refused to hear the ERA.

Now aroused women across the state are urging the Rules Committee and Chairman Tom Apodaca to hold a hearing and send the ERA to the full Senate for a vote.

Dare County and Buncombe County women sent hundreds of purple postcards to legislators. During an ERA session at the Business and Professional Women state convention in May, dozens of women sent postcards to Rules Committee members. A week later, after an inspiring speech by former Senator Ellie Kinnaird, the state League of Women Voters stood up for the ERA, adding it to the list of action areas. Some League members took postcards home to send to legislators.

Two other organizations, NC4ERA and the National Organization for Women, organized silent sentinels in front of Senator Apodaca’s office to protest the Rules Committee’s inaction.

RATIFY ERA-NC is planning a statewide ERA meeting this fall. Stay tuned for details so you can be there.

ERA Lapel Pin

Golden ERA pins available for donors to RATIFY ERA-NC
Small gold-colored ERA pins are now available for people who donate $50 or more to RATIFY ERA-NC, thanks to David Madden, who paid for the pins. These pins are ideal for wearing everywhere and are excellent conversation-starters. To get your pin, please mail your check to RATIFY ERA-NC, P.O. Box 758, Black Mountain, NC 28711.

Other unratified states
In Illinois, Virginia, Florida, and other unratified states, the ERA is a constant presence in legislatures, where women continue to advocate tirelessly for ratification.

ERA 3-state strategy measures introduced in Congress for Mother’s Day
At the congressional level, legislation was introduced in May, just in time for Mother’s Day, to eliminate the deadline so that only three more states need to ratify the ERA:
•    Senate Joint Resolution 15 by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), which now has 27 cosponsors
•    House Joint Resolution 51 by Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), which has 152 cosponsors, including NC Reps. Alma Adams and David Price

Got 7 minutes? Here’s what you can do for the ERA
•    Call, visit, or write to Senator Apodaca and other members of the Senate Rules Committee to urge a hearing on the ERA, Senate Bill 184. For contact information go to www.ncleg.net.
•    Contact Senators Tillis and Burr and urge them to cosponsor S.J.Res.15 to eliminate the deadline for ratifying the ERA. You can call them at the U.S. Capitol toll free at 1-877-762-8762.
•    Contact your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives and urge him or her to cosponsor H.J.Res.51 to eliminate the deadline for ratifying the ERA. Call the U.S. Capitol toll free at 1-877-762-8762.
•    Make a donation to RATIFY ERA-NC. We will send your ERA pin as a thank you!

Posted in Related Articles | Leave a comment

Passionate about candidate

Visit NCYouthRock – “Youth voices are important to the future of our state. We will educate and encourage NC youth and encourage our elected representatives to make decisions beneficial to young people in NC.” ~ Madison Kimrey

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What happened to the push for the ERA in NC?

WNC legislator, activist weigh in for passage of ERA

by Kirk Ross/Carolina Public Press

RALEIGH—The Equal Rights Amendment, a landmark push to enshrine women’s equality in the U.S. Constitution, is in limbo again in North Carolina. Continue reading…

Posted in Related Articles | Leave a comment

NC lawmakers say “no” yet again to equality for women

By Roberta Madden (originally published in NC Policy Watch’s Progressive Voices)

On October 24 1975, 90% of Iceland's women refused to work, cook or look after children

On October 24 1975, 90% of Iceland's women refused to work, cook or look after children.

Forty years ago, 90 percent of Iceland’s women took “a day off,” refusing to work, cook, or tend the children. In a powerful strike for equality, 25,000 women from all walks of life gathered on a Friday in the capital city of Reykjavik to listen to speeches, sing, and talk about issues. Schools, stores, businesses and other institutions shut down as Icelandic society nearly came to a standstill. Ten years later, 50,000 people rallied in Iceland’s capital to protest that some inequities remained.

Meanwhile, Icelandic voters elected the world’s first democratically elected female president. Although women there do not yet enjoy complete pay parity, Iceland does have the narrowest pay gap in the world, while other inequities have been resolved. In 2011 Newsweek named Iceland the best place in the world for women on issues of health, education, economics, politics, and justice.

Sadly, when it comes to women’s rights, the United States lags far behind Iceland and many other nations. American women still lack equal pay, and at the present snail’s pace will not get it until 2058. On average, women take home only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. Even more drastic are the figures for women of color: 68 cents for black women and 57 cents for Hispanic women. Over the course of their working lives, American women are paid anywhere from $700,000 to $2 million less than their male colleagues. Continue reading

Posted in Related Articles | Leave a comment