Surrounded by women’s rights leaders and members of Congress, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on Wednesday reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment. “It’s 2005 and women still do not have their equal rights guaranteed in the Constitution,” said Maloney. “We have fought wars overseas and guaranteed equal rights in the Afghan constitution, but we still don’t have them here at home.”
“Not only should the United States set an example for the world by guaranteeing equality for women, but American women need it now,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority and a leader of the effort to pass the ERA from 1972-1982. “With most families dependent on employed women, a significant wage gap persists mainly because of sex discrimination and sex segregation in the workforce.”
“Properly interpreted, an equal rights amendment will be a permanent guarantee of basic human rights for women Ñ not subjecting our fundamental rights and liberties to changing political cycles,” said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. “Women were not included in the Constitution at the founding of our country, and for the entire history of the United States women have been purposely disadvantaged by the lack of a Constitutional guarantee of equality.”
Also on Wednesday, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and a group of Senators introduced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the Senate. The ERA passed Congress in 1972, but failed to be ratified by three states by the deadline in 1982.