Equal Rights Amendment



When Alice Paul and the NWP began discussing what is now called the ERA, M. Carey Thomas, the president of Bryn Mawr College, offered her support for the legislation, stating, “How much better by one blow to do away with discriminating against women in work, salaries, promotion and opportunities to compete with men in a fair field with no favor on either side!” (Cott, p. 125). While the need for the ERA may have been self-evident to women like Paul and Thomas, many longtime supporters of women's rights were in the opposite camp. The whole issue of protective labor legislation for women was thorny; feminists who tried to look out for the interests of working-class women in particular believed protective legislation to be necessary, especially for women engaged in industrial labor. In the 1920s, the NWP's insistence on a federal amendment addressing women's equality divided the ranks of American feminists. Many leading women's organizations, such as the League of Women...

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Alice Paul (Library of Congress)

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