Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) announced yesterday during a celebratory gathering of senators, representatives, and feminist leaders and supporters that she intends to reintroduce and fight for the passage of an amendment to the constitution that would ensure equal rights for women and men. The Women’s Equality Amendment, which has the same exact wording as the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that was first introduced in 1923 and has been under consideration several times, would add the following sentence to the US Constitution: “Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.”
“The amendment, as you can see, is simple. This amendment is not about partisan politics. It is about fairness and equality,” Rep. Maloney said yesterday. “Equality is not a slogan, or a fad. It is a fundamental right.”
House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) joined Rep. Maloney at the press conference, pledging to hold hearings on the ERA. “A constitutional amendment is necessary to ensure that the status of women is not subject to changes in politics, but is a protected right of basic equality. The ERA would proclaim gender equality as a fundamental principle for our laws, and it is long overdue,” Rep. Nadler said in a statement.
Also in attendance were Senator Barbara Boxer, Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Hilda Solis (D-CA), and Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal — whom Rep. Maloney introduced as having “equality in her DNA.”
Rep. Maloney pointed out that seven out of 10 Americans think that the United States already has a constitutional guarantee of gender equality, and nine out of 10 Americans think such a guarantee should exist. To conclude her statements, Rep. Maloney noted the commonsense need for this amendment, saying, “Women and girls in the United States deserve every opportunity that men have always had. Let’s make this the year we ratify the ERA.”
The amendment already has 193 original co-sponsors.