The Equal Rights Amendment, Then and Now
The Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the United States (Deborah Brake, Martha Chamallas, & Verna Williams eds. 2021)
28 Pages Posted: 10 May 2021
Date Written: May 6, 2021
One hundred years in the making, the Equal Rights Amendment is the only proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that has met the requirements of Article V of the Constitution but has not been added to the Constitution due to a congressionally imposed ratification deadline. The Amendment guarantees that “[e]quality of rights shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” like gender equality guarantees in most constitutions around the world. This Essay exposes the unique trajectory of the Equal Rights Amendment to shed light on the process of feminist constitutional change and the evolution of substantive feminist legal aspirations. The revival of the ERA ratification process, decades after Congress’s deadlines, has generated transgenerational public meanings for a new body of gender equality law and public policy.
Keywords: Equal Rights Amendment, legal feminism, women, gender, constitutional amendment
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