Equal Rights Amendment

(1972)

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), originally written by Alice Paul in 1921 and first proposed to Congress in 1923, was intended to guarantee full rights for women under the law. Following the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which extended suffrage to women, in August 1920, some believed that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to guarantee full rights for women in all aspects of life, from employment to education to divorce to property ownership. In fact, not all feminists agreed that such a constitutional amendment was necessary. Nevertheless, Paul and other members of the National Woman's Party (NWP) discussed language for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. In the ensuing years the fight over the amendment waxed and waned, with the proposed legislation being introduced to every session of Congress from 1923 onward but remaining bottled up in committees. Paul rewrote the Equal Rights Amendment into the current language in 1943, aiming to echo the language of...

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Alice Paul (Library of Congress)

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