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Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

What is the ERA?

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. The ERA states quite simply: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Since its founding, the National Women’s Political Caucus has supported the adoption of the ERA as one of our bottom-line issues.

Why Does It Matter?

The Equal Rights Amendment would guarantee that the rights affirmed by the U.S. Constitution are equal for all citizens without regard to their sex. The ERA has sweeping implications for issues that touch the lives of women everywhere including wage discrimination, sex discrimination, women’s healthcare and reproductive rights, poverty, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, female incarceration and the equal treatment of women under the law. As it stands now, courts seldom find sex to be a protected civil rights classification under the Constitution. This leaves women unable to assure those rights through legal action and adding the ERA to the Constitution would make this protection explicit.

Why Now?

The Equal Rights Amendment, passed by Congress in 1972, needed legislatures in 38 states to ratify it in order to include it in the Constitution. However, it was given a deadline, which passed with only 35 states ratifying.  There is now a renewed effort to gain ratification of three additional states, and by April 2019, two of those had been achieved.  Once the third (38th) state ratifies, ERA advocates will work with Congress to make sure it is added to the Constitution.

 What You Can Do


Bella Abzug, center with hat, smiles as she holds up her ERA sign in a pro-equal rights demonstration on New York’s Fifth Avenue, Aug. 26, 1980. About 5,000 marchers marched down Fifth Avenue chanting pro-equal rights slogans to celebrate the 60th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote. (AP Photo)

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