U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Western Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn) organized press conferences in New York and Washington DC this week calling for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
“At a time when #MeToo has become a rallying cry across the nation, when there are outcries in every corner of this country – for equal pay, equal opportunity, equal treatment and an end to the casual culture of harassment and assault in practically every sector of society – we have opportunity as never before to seize on this moment and make lasting change by finally ratifying the ERA,” Rep. Maloney said.
First introduced in Congress in 1921, the Equal Rights Amendment would guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex, end legal distinctions in terms of divorce, property, and more. It would guarantee government programs and federal resources to all sexes and prohibit sexual discrimination.
Despite advocacy in the 1970s for its passage, the amendment failed to obtain the required 38 states to amend the Constitution. Since then, proponents such as Rep. Maloney have worked to ensure its passage through Congress and in state legislatures.
Supporters have been emboldened with both Nevada and Illinois becoming the 36th and 37th state, respectively, to ratify the ERA in the past year. Just one out of the 13 states, from Florida to Arizona, yet to ratify the amendment is required.
“Women are half the population and yet, the only right we are guaranteed in the constitution is the right to vote,” said Maloney. “At a time when there is an outcry from across our country for equal pay for women, an end to sexual harassment and assault, and heightened awareness of sex discrimination in practically every sector of society, we must talk about Constitutional equality.
Actress Alyssa Milano participated in these press conferences and praised the women pushing forward the amendment. She highlighted the importance of the amendment’s passage in an era of accountability for sexual assault.
“I am honored to play my part and grateful that the #MeToo movement has helped women to find their voices, to speak out, to insist on being heard and to demand equality. The time for the Equal Rights Amendment is now,” he said.