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"The US has fallen behind on equality of the sexes"

In an opinion piece published in CNN International, distinguished professor and founding director of the Fielding School-based WORLD Policy Analysis Center Dr. Jody Heymann advocates for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to be adopted into the U.S. Constitution.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

written by Dr. Jody Heymann, Amy Raub, Aleta Sprague

Eighty percent of Americans wrongly believe the US Constitution ensures that men and women have equal rights, according to one poll. It doesn't -- and it's about time the US enshrines the Equal Rights Amendment in the supreme law of the land.

Women gained the constitutional right to vote in 1920 and it took nearly half a century later before laws guaranteed equality at work. While Congress passed the ERA -- which establishes equality regardless of sex -- in 1972, it languished for decades after it failed to reach the 38-state ratification threshold required to amend the US Constitution.

After a renewed push in recent years, activists are now looking to Virginia, where Democrats won a majority in the November 2019 elections, to become the 38th state to ratify the ERA. But the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel argued that the deadline to ratify the ERA has expired, and advocates, policymakers and legal experts have weighed in on its future. Amidst all of the debates about legal procedures, it's easy to lose sight of how vital the ERA is for our country—or how far the US lags behind the rest of the world in this regard.