womens rights

When…If not NOW

Will I be dead when women have as many rights as men in this country?

The first introduction of the proposal that women should be allowed to vote was made in 1878. It took until 1919 (41 years later) for the House of Representatives (voting 304 to 89) and the Senate (voting 56 to 25) to reach the requirement of 3/4 states for approval. The Archivist verified ratifications, drafted a proclamation and published it in the Federal Register and US Statutes at Large. The 19th Amendment became the law of this land in 1920.

My mother was 4 years old.

To date, the 19th Amendment is the Constitution’s only explicitly affirmed guarantee of equal right for women.

Just three years later in 1923, the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment was proposed in an effort to achieve full equality for women in this country. Ending distinctions between men and women when it came to divorce, ownership of property, and rights with respect to employment were the driving issues it sought to address. It said:

“Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the
United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.
Congress shall have the power to enforce this article
by appropriate jurisdiction.”

This proposed amendment failed to win the approval of the House of Representatives and Senate.

My mother was 7 years old.

In 1943, the Equal Rights Amendment was re-written and proposed again:

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.”

It took until 1971 for the House of Representatives to approve the ERA with a bipartisan vote 354-21, and it took until 1972 for the Senate to approve the ERA with aa bipartisan vote 84-8.

My mother was 56. I was 30.

From 1972 until 1972 efforts continued to obtain the approval of the required 3/4 of the states (38). By the time this happened, my mother was gone. She died when she was 78…before the state approval was achieved in 2020.

“So…what is the reason the 28th Amendment:

‘Equality of rights under the law
shall not be denied or abridged by
the United States or by any state on
account of sex.’

is NOT acknowledged as part of the United States Constitution?” you might ask.

The answer is that we…all the women in this country…are waiting for the Archivist to issue and publish a proclamation. The procedure is:

1. In the Office of the Federal Register there is an Archivist. This person is appointed by the President with advice and consent of the Senate.

2. Once the House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to approve an amendment, the Archivist submits the proposed amendment to the States for their consideration

3. The Archivist receives an original or certified copy of the State action of ratification, which is immediately conveyed to the Director of the Federal Register.

4. The Director examines ratification documents for facial legal sufficiency and an authenticating signature. If the documents are found to be in good order, the Director acknowledges receipt and maintains custody of them. The Office of the Federal Register retains these documents until an amendment is adopted or fails, and then transfers the records to the National Archives for preservation.

5. When the OFR verifies that it has received the required number of authenticated ratification documents, a formal proclamation is drafted for the Archivist to certify that the amendment is valid and has become part of the Constitution. This certification is published in the Federal Register and U.S. Statutes at Large and serves as official notice to the Congress and to the Nation that the amendment process has been completed. (Emphasis mine)

This…just this…is what remains between me and all other women in this country…to be given the same rights as the men with whom we live.

When?

If not NOW!