Eileen Davis of Richmond, an advocate for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing gender equality, will speak to the Lake of the Woods Democratic Club on May 21.
Davis will describe efforts to gain ratification of the ERA in Virginia, one of only three additional states required to make the amendment part of the nation’s fundamental law.
The meeting will take place at 1:30 p.m. May 21 in the LOW Community Center. The public is welcome to attend, regardless of political affiliation.
Ms. Davis, a long-time activist for equality and social justice, is co-founder of Women Matter Use Your Power (women-matter.org).
She is a member of the coordination team advocating for ratification of the stalled Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia.
Ms. Davis is also part of the advocacy team visiting U.S. senators and representatives to secure passage of bills calling for removal of the deadline on the stalled bill, allowing for debate of this important civil rights legislation.
The Equal Rights Amendment states simply: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
The ERA was written in 1923 by Alice Paul, suffragist leader and founder of the National Woman’s Party. After women’s right to vote was guaranteed by the 19th Amendment in 1920, she proposed the ERA as the next step in confirming “equal justice under law” for all citizens. The ERA was introduced into every Congress between 1923 and 1972, when it was passed and sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit in the ERA’s proposing clause was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, the ERA had been ratified by 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution.
The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since 1982. Beginning in 1994 with introduction of the first three-state strategy bill in Congress, ERA advocates have been pursuing two different routes to ratification:
- the traditional process outlined in Article V of the Constitution, requiring passage by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives, followed by ratification by legislatures in three-quarters (38) of the 50 states, and
- ratification in three more of the 15 state legislatures that did not ratify the ERA during the 1972-82 ratification campaign, based on legal analysis that when three more states vote yes, this non-traditional process could withstand legal challenge and put the ERA into the Constitution.
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