In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has introduced legislation to advance the Equal Rights Amendment in every congressional session since 1997 (it was first introduced in 1923), but has been unable to get it to a floor vote thus far. Maloney emphasized to CNN that its passage and ratification would empower women to continue playing an increasingly vital role in American society:
“Equality, rights and opportunity are basic values in our country. And the world is changing. We can’t compete and win in the global economy if we don’t use the skills of all of our people. This is something you can do to strengthen the country, and it doesn’t run up the deficit. It just runs up womens’ self-esteem.”
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), an original cosponsor of this resolution, praised the impact the Equal Rights Amendment would have on the economic contributions of women to their families in the same interview with CNN:
“One of the Republican themes is, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ This is a rising tide and it will lift all boats. When women are out of poverty, their families are out of poverty, their children, their husbands, their significant others are out of poverty… Why wouldn’t we want their tide lifted? They’ll lift the entire economy.”
This legislation currently has the support of 194 cosponsors in the House — including 187 Democrats and seven Republicans.
Of Note: Congress actually passed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, but arbitrarily set a 10-year deadline for states to ratify it, and by the time 1982 arrived only 35 of the required 38 states had ratified it. There is currently legislation in Congress that would retroactively eliminate the deadline, effectively allowing the ratification process to pick up where it left off in 1982.
Time limits on constitutional amendments hadn’t been utilized prior to the 18th Amendment, so ratification time limits are a self-imposed restraint rather than a constitutional requirement. Case in point, the 27th Amendment wasn’t ratified until 203 years after Congress passed it and it sent it to the states!