Tag Archives: equal rights

The Equal Rights Amendment – Women Matter Use Your Power


The History of the pursuit of Constitutionally Guaranteed Gender Equality
(The Equal Rights Amendment)

The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced by the Republican Party and remained in the party platform until the 1980’s. Presidents Ford and Nixon, and their spouses vigorously supported ratifying The Equal Rights Amendment. Alice Paul, the author of the Equal Rights Amendment, was a Republican.

​The 19th amendment and The Equal Rights Amendment, both written by Alice Paul have almost identical wording with the substitution of only four words in the text, (the “right to vote” shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex) versus (“equality of rights” shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on of account sex). The Equal Rights Amendment was supposed to follow the 19th amendment, not languish for 94 years.

Resistance to Constitutional Gender Equality has changed over the years but has continued to mirror its generation of origin

  • In the 1800’s women couldn’t own property and were relegated to perpetual guardianship by their male family members
  • In  the 1920s to pre-WWII it was “you have the vote, that’s enough”
  • In the 1950’s and 1960’s a female still could not have her own credit, sign a mortgage, or serve on a jury (“Mad Men culture”)
  • In the 1970’s resistance was built around  the draft, unisex bathrooms, fear of female clergy and women “losing femininity”

The man who killed ERA in the 70’s was Sam Irwin, a NC Democrat, who believed it was “folly to treat women and men legally equal.” Sam Irwin unsuccessfully tried to pass a bill to make it illegal to draft women.  This proved that the ERA has nothing to do with women being drafted, as Congress has always been able to draft women but has chosen not to.

Frequently Asked Questions about the ERA:

Women in the Military

Constitutionally protected gender equality would provide equal opportunity and redress to women bravely serving in the military..One of the primary reasons for the ERA’s failure in the 70’s and early 80’s was never a legitimate concern.

Selective Service for females (The Draft)
Congress has always had the right to draft women so  the passage of the ERA would not affect the draft.

Force religions to ordain women
Passage of the ERA would not require religions to ordain women, as the constitution provides for the separation of church and state. Religions would be unaffected by the ratification of the
ERA and would continue to exercise their authority over religious matters.

Religious liberty falls under separation of church and state, for example churches reserve the right to not marry divorced persons or couples who don’t complete premarital counseling etc. Thus churches will remain unaffected by constitutional gender equality.

Women will lose social security benefits
The Widow benefit was converted to a spousal benefit (male or female) in the 1970s in anticipation of passage of the ERA and continues to be the standard to this day.

Unisex bathrooms
Unisex bathrooms already exist at stores like Trader Joes, airplanes, trains and bus stations where single stall and family bathrooms are the norm. This would not change with the passage of the ERA and is not a valid reason to deny constitutionally protected gender equality to the majority sex, as women are 52% of the U.S. population.

Roe v. Wade
The passage and ratification of the ERA will have no effect on the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, as this case was decided on the constitutional right to privacy and not equality.

The 14th Amendment, the equality Amendment, already provides equality thus the ERA is no longer necessary”?

Section 2 of the 14th Amendment specifically includes the wording male citizen and male inhabitant 3 times and is very gender specific in its applicability to males. Female citizens and female inhabitants are not mentioned. A constitutional amendment (the Equal Rights Amendment) is needed to provide constitutionally protected gender equality for women.

“We already have enough laws for women”

Without the clear legal guidance provided by a Constitutional amendment, the incremental patchwork of laws addressing women and equality of opportunity and pay equity are “nails without a hammer”.  Sen. Kelly Ayotte stated when explaining why she voted against The Equal Pay Act”The reason that I voted against that specific bill is that, I looked at it, and there were already existing laws that need to be enforced“.  The Equal Rights Amendment would add strict judicial protection and enforcement to existing legislation.

Justice Scalia when asked why he voted against The Lilly Ledbetter Act stated “The Constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex, thus I was under no constitutional obligation to do so”.

The Benefits to tax payers of an Equal Rights Amendment
Constitutionally guaranteed equality of the sexes would reinforce existing laws and clarify women’s legal rights to economic and employment parity with men.  ​If women are allowed to be paid less for the same job as men, or are denied equal opportunities for advancement, ​it damages our economy and our community.

​Safety net programs ​such as SNAP (food stamps) and reduced cost lunches are needed in higher numbers by women when they do not have parity with male salaries or opportunity for advancement. Women deserve the same dignity as men in providing for their families without needing government assistance to fill in the wage gap

The ERA enjoys a bi-partisan history
The Equal Rights Amendment has a long bipartisan history and bipartisanship should be key to its final ratification.

  • 97% of Americans polled believe women should have constitutionally guaranteed gender equality (an equal rights amendment) and 72% think it’s already in place.
  • Supporting and championing this legislation will enjoy vigorous public support by the voting public once the voting public is further educated on the need for the ERA.
  • The Equal Rights Amendment is important Civil Rights Legislation which ensures unequivocal equality of all persons regardless of gender in the United States Constitution.
  • Women are 52% of U.S population; women love and respect the Constitution and want unequivocal inclusion in this bedrock document. We expect nothing less.

The Text of the ERA

  • Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
  • Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
  • Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Eileen Davis

Candace Graham



FB:  Women Matter

We Are Woman DC Rally – Pictures

The We Are Woman Constitution Day Rally was held on September 13, 2014.


Highlight Reel

It was an exciting day – despite the rain!


Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal
National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill
My friend Madison Kimrey.
I love this shot!



Maryland Congressman, and all around awesome dude, Chris Van Hollen and me.



Keeping Maryland State Senator Roger Manno as dry as possible during his awesome speech.
Keeping Maryland State Senator Roger Manno as dry as possible during his kick-ass speech.
What a day!


Excerpts From AMERICAN WOMAN: The Poll Dance

aacricMy latest book is finally finished and it has been a fascinating journey.

In November 2012, I lost my job as a sales rep and I wasn’t sure what to do. I was at a crossroads. I was already an author and had begun my role as an activist for women in April of that same year.

My mother and business partner,  Ann Werner, had been urging me to keep a diary of my activism. I took her advice and began writing  AMERICAN WOMAN The Poll Dance: Women and Voting.

The focus of AW is the importance of voting, women’s rights and feminism.  In a narrative that combines the history of the women’s rights movement, personal recollections and headlines of the day,  American Woman not only speaks to women, but to all those who cherish our democracy. It is a clarion call to arms and the weapon is your vote.

Below are some of my personal recollections:

1968 – 2012: My Political Evolution

A feminist raised me.

My parents separated when I was three. It was 1972 and a civil rights revolution was happening. Women were fighting for liberation, and the way women were being portrayed in society was changing. Women who were in the midst of redesigning the American landscape overshadowed the homemaker. I had no real idea about what was happening. I heard the term “women’s lib” and I saw commercials that said women were bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan, so in my mind, women were equal. My mother was a single mom who worked. She struggled but we always had dinner together in the evening and a very normal routine. When the sink was clogged, she fixed it. When the car needed oil, she replaced it. When we moved, and we moved A LOT, she set up the television and stereo. When we needed more money, she worked extra hard or took a second job. She is a smart over-achiever, so we also experienced times where, as a single working mother, she earned a nice living and we lived well. My life experience exposed me to a strong woman who never relied on anyone but herself. She made sure to drive that message home so that it was ingrained. She succeeded.
I am extremely fortunate that my father is also pro-women’s rights. He eventually remarried and my stepmother, Roz, is also a feminist. She believes in equality and is an Emmy award-winning editor in the news business. She kicks ass in her chosen profession.


Turning twenty-one was exciting for me. I was an adult in the eyes of the law and it was my time to figure out who I would be in the world. I didn’t give much thought to the enormous fight that had taken place to legally secure my rights as a woman. I knew women fought for the rights and freedoms I enjoyed, and I knew that we had come a long way from the 1950s way of life. I took it all for granted. I felt like a powerful badass woman who could do anything. My mother’s strength as a woman served me well. I chose how I wanted to earn a living, and I usually negotiated an above average wage. I never had any real reason to believe my rights would be repealed or restricted. If anything, I assumed they would expand.

In the 1980s we had conservative presidents for the entire decade. Ronald Reagan was president until 1988, and then conservative George H. W. Bush took over until 1992.  At the time, I was not politically aware. I was a young adult and what I experienced was the American dream. I didn’t become wealthy but I had opportunity and I knew it. The world was my oyster. I do remember hearing about the abortion issue now and then. Occasionally some anti-choice group made the news but it wasn’t plastered all over the media like it is today. I lived in a very liberal state and utilized Planned Parenthood clinics when I didn’t have insurance. Birth control was always extremely easy to acquire and there were a few different times in my life that I was on it. I felt free. I felt equal. I considered myself to be a proud American patriot.  I mistook being comfortable for being equal. 

In the 1990s it was more of the same. Life was good and I decided to pursue an acting career. My best friend at the time followed politics and I remember her going on about some politician named Bill Clinton. My father was working for the news division of a major American television network on Clinton’s presidential campaign and he invited my friend and me out for dinner one evening when the campaign stopped in Los Angeles. We drove to the hotel in Santa Monica and happened to run into Bill Clinton while on the way to meeting my father. He came over to us to say hi and shook our hands and of course, he asked for our vote. I was impressed for about five minutes and then I was back to not giving a shit about any of it. I believe I was still a registered Republican. I honestly didn’t even know what that meant and I didn’t care. As mentioned, my girlfriend was a lot more politically aware than I was and she helped to convince me I was a Democrat. I eventually changed my political affiliation and have voted in every election since I cast my first vote for William Jefferson Clinton.


Little things DO Matter

I used to be a sales representative in a field dominated by blue-collar men. Many of these men were great. They treated me with respect and never once made me feel uncomfortable. There were also the men who had to show me who was boss. One man, “John,” who was my employer, was giving me a lecture—after I had proven my worth at the company by selling a $30,000 machine to a water and power plant all on my own, with very little help from my male sales manager, “Adam.” I asked John for more information on oil filtration so that I could sell more big ticket items. He said yes and then he told me that in order to not be seen as a bimbo, I would need to understand what it was I was selling. I remember being shocked by his absurd, sexist remark.


I didn’t say anything to him about his bimbo comment because I needed to process it. As I drove home, I became increasingly irritated. I had already sold the damn machine—with NO HELP from him. My customers never treated me as if I were a bimbo. I asked this man for some more education so that I could hone my sales skills. Rather than praise, rather than a pat on the back for a job well done, I was loosely referred to as a bimbo. I took a risk and called him after I gathered myself and had a few good workouts where I mentally beat the shit out of him. I knew flying off the handle would be of no help and would give him the green light to call me overly emotional and unable to handle the job. This man was very much the alpha male—very macho. So I called him on the phone and simply addressed the situation calmly. I told him I understood that he didn’t outright call me a bimbo, but his reference to the fact that I would be seen that way because I was not yet an expert in my field was insulting. I made the effort to make sure he understood that he was not ever permitted to address me in that way again, but I stayed centered, calm and measured. In that instance, it worked. He basically avoided me after our conversation. I embarrassed him. That wasn’t my goal. My goal was to make him realize he had been a sexist employer. He apologized and even though I am sure my reaction didn’t turn him into a feminist, it made ME feel better and more in control of my life, both personally and at work. If I would have said nothing, it would have chipped away at me and possibly would have manifested into misplaced anger. I hope that it also made him consider his words when speaking with his female employees. He isn’t a bad man. But he did need a good reminder that he wasn’t superior just because he has a penis.


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