The Unquestionable Necessity of the ERA

In the mid 70’s women were fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment for women. Fear mongering prevented its passage. The issues that defeated it included:

Women would join the clergy,

It would take away separate bathrooms for males and females,

Men would not have to support their wives with alimony and child support (women could lose custody), Courts would approve same-sex marriages,

Women could be drafted to serve in the military and fight in combat, and

Women could get abortions.

Years later we see that most of these have materialized without the amendment passing.

This is what women don’t have!

In a lot of cases, women do not receive equal pay for doing the same job as their male counterparts. White women are paid on the average, 20 cents less than men. Women of color earn 40 cents less than men! Consequently, when women retire, they receive less in their social security checks because their earning’s average was lower, yet they did the same job as a man!

Remember the Willmar 8 in 1977? Eight women at the local bank formed a union and went on strike for equal pay when they were told to train in the new youthful male who had been hired to be their manager. They felt they were qualified to lead. They fought and lost their case in court. Women did not have equal rights to equal pay. In 2019 women are still paid less than men.

Studies show men are twice as likely to be hired as women and are perceived to be more skilled in interviews. Women represent only 6% of CEO’s at S&P 500 companies. Women comprise 37% of doctors, but only 16% of medical school deans. Interestingly women make up 50% of college students in law and medicine. But even a highly educated woman is paid less than the males.

With regards to sexual violence, women are still at a disadvantage. In Wright County Law Enforcement, women find one female officer employed along with 138 males. When women need support for domestic abuse, rape, or teen dating violence, they must tell their stories to men if they tell at all. Why would a traumatized woman be willing to talk to the same gender that assaulted her? As we have read and heard so many times before, a victim is not guaranteed a rape kit will be processed or that the violence will be investigated.

When women try to fight for equal rights in the courts, the Supreme Court rulings reminded us that women have not and currently do not have equal rights. In 1868 the Equal Protection Clause, the 14th Amendment, addressed the slavery issues by prohibiting states from denying any person equal protection under the law, but women’s rights are not explicitly guaranteed under this amendment. Even the Supreme Court has ruled unfavorably against a woman’s rights since there is no Constitutional amendment or precedence to refer to other than the 14th Amendment. Chief Justice Antonin Scalia once stated that, “The Constitution does not protect women from sexual discrimination. No one ever thought that’s what it meant. No one ever voted for that.”

Currently, the Minnesota House of Representatives has passed a bill to add the ERA to the Minnesota Constitution. Twenty-four other states have already done this. Republicans are trying to block the ERA from being added to the Minnesota Constitution stating it will ensure abortions. However, abortions are legal in all US states under a separate law, and if Roe v. Wade were rescinded, abortions would not be legal for any gender. Do not be fooled again by this fear mongering.

If the ERA amendment was added to the Minnesota Constitution, family income would increase because women would earn more money. It is not likely that women will be staying home to raise children as in previous decades. To survive economically in 2019, women must work. During child bearing years, one parent may get to take time off while the children are pre-school age, but after that both parents need to return to work just to survive.

In 2019 we need to ban together and support women and families by passing the Equal Rights Amendment. "Equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender." You can help by contacting your state senators. Tell them you want them to vote yes on the amendment. It is time to give women equal rights. Abortion fear mongers are contacting their senators; we can’t afford to keep quiet anymore.