Essay On 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
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Although the ERA was denied in the seventies, the new administrations are trying to introduce plans that will exemplify equal rights for women in society.

Opposition to the ERA in the 1970s was similar in some ways to opposition in the 1920s. Conservative politicians and organization voiced strong opposition to the amendment. Phyllis Schlafly, one of the amendment's most vocal opponents, founded STOP ERA, a group that worked to defeat the amendment. "Schlafly argued that the amendment would force women to take on roles normally reserved for the men and that equal rights meant women would give up "privileges" of womanhood." Th ERA was also opposed by many woman who feared the loss of alimony and of exemption of military service.

Although there is no consensus to explain the ERA's defeat, there are several theories. "Many felt that it was a rejection of the feminist ideal of what women ought to be, an ideal that threatened to destroy the American family and sap the strength of a society already crippled by moral permissiveness and political weakness and indecision." Others felt that the Church of Jesus Christ spent great sums of money to defeat the
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Other opposition to the ERA included how the Amendment was to be interpreted. It was felt that giving the Supreme Court and federal agencies authority to spell out the meaning of equal rights would be risky. Decisions made on such a level would be too far removed from the ideas and desires of the people. Opponents felt that equal rights should be dealt with on a local or state level where legislators can be voted out of position if the people do not like some of the decisions made.

Although the ERA did not pass, all of the actions made by NOW, NWP, and any of the other women's movements, have greatly aided women in their battle against sex discrimination in the work place, in educational institutions, and in their roles as wives and mothers, and finally laid to rest the controversy over protective legislation and equal rights. Like the Fourteenth
Amendment, we are inclined to forget that the ERA was designed not to change values but to modify behavior of mainstream citizens by changing

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