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July 21, 2023

ERA Caucus Co-Chairs Pressley, Bush Commemorate 100th Anniversary of Equal Rights Amendment

WASHINGTON – Congressional Caucus for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Co-Chairs Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) released a statement commemorating July 21, 2023 as the 100th anniversary of when the Equal Rights Amendment was first unveiled.

“Today marks 100 years since the Equal Rights Amendment was first unveiled. In other words, today marks 100 years without constitutional equality when there was a solution on the table. It marks 100 years that we have fought to correct the purposeful exclusion of women and LGBTQ+ people from the U.S. Constitution. It marks 100 years where our government has allowed the gender pay gap, reproductive and health care inequities, and other disparities to persist. It shouldn’t take us a century to enshrine gender equality in our nation’s founding document. 

“Equality is long overdue. Now more than ever, with the Supreme Court governing with contempt and turning back the clock on decades of progress, we need a constitutional guarantee of gender equality to defend abortion, protect LGBTQ+ folks, and advance racial justice for generations to come. 

“The Equal Rights Amendment has met the threshold contained in Article V of the U.S. Constitution to become the 28th Amendment. On March 22, 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment with more than the 2/3rds required. Virginia became the last state necessary to ratify it in 2020 as the 38th state. Twenty-eight states have state-level Equal Rights Amendments today.

“We launched the Congressional Caucus for the Equal Rights Amendment—the first ever in history—in order to bring together diverse voices to organize and work together to get it across the finish line. We want to celebrate this 100-year struggle by finally putting an end to it. We must affirm the ERA as the 28th Amendment and we won’t rest until it is enshrined and recognized as a part of the U.S. Constitution.”

The Congressional Caucus for the Equal Rights Amendment has over 70 members, including 17 vice chairs, Representatives Becca Balint (VT), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Judy Chu (CA-28), Madeline Dean (PA-04), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Maxwell Frost (FL-10), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Steven Horsford NV-04), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Summer Lee (PA-12), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jamie Raskin (MD-08) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07).  

“Today isn’t a celebration, it’s a reminder to continue the fight to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. While the ERA was first introduced a century ago, it remains necessary within our Constitution to finally bring full legal equality to everyone in America. We must make the ERA our 28th amendment to close the wage gap, provide individuals with reproductive autonomy, and enhance health insurance coverage for all women, especially women of color,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu.

“For the past 100 years, the women of this country have been fighting nonstop to have their rights enshrined into the Constitution,” said Rep. Frankel. “Since the inception of this country, we’ve waged battles for access to the ballot box, the right to own property, access to reproductive care—it’s far past time for the Equal Rights Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution to protect these hard-won rights, and ensure future generations of women are protected from those who want to drag us back to the dark ages.”

“Supporting the Equal Rights Amendment is a very personal issue for me. As a young college student, I visited the Texas State Legislature to fight for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Yet here I am, years later, still fighting for the ERA and women’s rights as a member of Congress. We have forged our paths in history – yet we’re still not equal to men under the eyes of the law. As a lawyer and a former judge, I know you cannot say that we, as women, have equality under the law if it’s not in the United States Constitution. All laws emanate from the Constitution. Simply put, we are not equal until the Constitution says we are equal. I cannot and will not give up on the fight to enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to our Constitution,” said Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia.

“The fight for equal rights for both women has persisted since the earliest days of our nation’s history,” said Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan.  “From the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls 175 years ago, to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment 100 years ago and beyond, generations of women have fought to ensure that our nation lives up to its promise of liberty and justice for all. Progress has been slow and steady, propelled by the abolitionists, the Civil Rights Movement, the Suffrage Movement, and the Women’s Rights Movement.  Each of these movements included women of color on the frontlines, even when they were the last to benefit from the work. I’m proud to have followed in the footsteps of those before me and led Virginia to become the 38th and final state necessary to ratify the ERA. Now in Congress, I stand united alongside ERA Caucus Co-Chairs Pressley and Bush and our ERA Caucus members in affirming the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”