What is the Equal Rights Amendment?

“It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens;
but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.”– SUSAN B. ANTHONY

Women’s Equality is the Civil Rights Issue of the Century

A Short ERA History

Written by Alice Paul, the Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed in 1923 and was subsequently reintroduced in every Congressional session for half a century.

For 50 years, the Amendment was both championed and vilified by some of both sides of the aisle. The tide turned in favor of equality in 1972 when the hard work of the women’s movement garnered the ERA widespread support, including an endorsement from President Nixon.

Rightfully, both houses of Congress approved the measure.

In order to become a Constitutional amendment, the legislatures of 38 states had to approve the ERA within seven years of Congressional passage and the momentum in favor of equality seemed to guarantee its authorization.

Unfortunately, as the deadline approached, only 35 states had ratified. A 39-month extension was given, but the ERA failed to secure the necessary support.

The ERA has been reintroduced into Congress every year since 1982, but, given the fact that 75% – 90% OF AMERICANS MISTAKENLY BELIEVE THAT THE ERA ALREADY PASSED it has never been voted on again.

The 15 states whose legislatures never ratified the Equal Rights Amendment are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

Present Strategies For Ratification
Currently there are two main strategies to successfully pass the ERA:


The ERA would be ratified by starting over the traditional process of passage by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives followed by ratification by legislatures in three-quarters (38) of the 50 states.

On June 22, 2011, ERA ratification bills were introduced in the the House of Representatives (H.J. Res. 69) by lead sponsor Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and in the Senate (S.J.Res. 21) by lead sponsor Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Currently there are 183 sponsors in Congress and 12 sponsors in the Senate.

**Current Congressional Sponsors of ERA are listed here: http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/congress.htm


The ERA was passed out of Congress in 1972 and was ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states needed to make a super-majority. If three more states vote yes, it is possible the ERA could become the 28th amendment. However, that would mean first passing a resolution in Congress – the HJ Res. 47 Resolution – that would ask Congress to waive the time limit.

On March 8, 2011, U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), introduced the HJ Res. 47 which if passed, would eliminate the time limit for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment proposed to the states. It declares that such amendment shall be part of the Constitution whenever ratified by the necessary number of additional states, not under a time limit.

The three state strategy is based on the fact that the “Madison Amendment,” concerning Congressional pay raises, became the 27th Amendment to the Constitution in 1992, after a ratification period of 203 years. Time limits were not imposed on amendments before 1917 (beginning with the 18th Amendment, Prohibition); and the 19th Amendment affirming women’s right to vote had no time limit.

Congress demonstrated its belief that it may alter a time limit in a proposing clause by extending the original ERA deadline. Therefore, according to advocates of this strategy it is likely that Congress has the power to adjust or repeal the previous time limit on the ERA, determine whether state ratifications subsequent to 1982 are valid, and accept the ERA as part of the Constitution after three more states ratify.

To learn more about the Three State Strategy visit: http://www.united4equality.com/