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Why isn't the Equal Rights Amendment a Constitutional Amendment?

Why isn't the Equal Rights Amendment a Constitutional Amendment?

photo credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

To commemorate Women’s History Month, we will be examining articles that allow us to reflect on the past, present, and future of women. We encourage you to read our summaries as well as the articles themselves and share this with your friends. If you want to learn more about the history of Women’s History Month, start here. If you have feedback or suggestions for future articles, contact Kate Mazzotta, Communications Manager, at

Ahead of the February 5 State of the Union address, women in Congress wore a distinctive button with a strong message: “ERA Yes.” First passed by Congress in 1972, the ERA, or Equal Rights Amendment, is just one state shy of being ratified into the Constitution.

The passage of the Equal Rights Amendment will amend the Constitution to explicitly prohibit gender discrimination.

Vox details the significance of the Equal Rights Amendment in this article.

In this analysis by The New York Times, correspondent Susan Chira digs into arguments for and against the ERA—and how our understanding of gender has changed since it was drafted.

In her own words: “And our understanding of gender has changed in ways unimagined either by the suffragists who first drafted an equal rights amendment when women won the vote a century ago or the backers of the E.R.A. a half-century later. A real push for this amendment now might affect the treatment of trans people and who is legally seen as a man or a woman.”

But the most compelling argument in favor of ratifying the ERA comes from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is quoted in this article as saying, “’I would like to be able to take out my pocket Constitution and say that the equal citizenship stature of men and women is a fundamental tenet of our society like free speech.’”

Read the full article here.

In addition to raising awareness around women’s issues, The Gathering Place helps women every day. We are metropolitan Denver’s only daytime shelter for women, children, and transgender individuals experiencing poverty and homelessness. While we refer to those we serve as members, all of our programs and services are free, and they always will be. But we can’t do our work without you; if you enjoyed this article and like our mission, donate on March 8! Our credit card vendor is waiving credit card fees in celebration of International Women’s Day, so your support goes further.