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On August 26, 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was ratified. A woman’s right to vote was finally the law of the land! Just in case you have never read the amendment, here is the text:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
In 1923, the National Woman’s Party first proposed the Equal Rights Amendment to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender. It has never been ratified.
Here is the wording of the Equal Rights Amendment:
- Section 1. Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.
- Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
The Equal Rights Amendment was written in 1921 by suffragist Alice Paul. It has been introduced in Congress every session since 1923. It passed Congress in the above form in 1972, but was not ratified by the necessary thirty-eight states by the July 1982 deadline. It was ratified by thirty-five states. Why not the others? What is the problem?
This issue seems to have faded away in these later years. We’ve watched women increase their numbers in both houses of Congress, serve as Secretary of State, Vice-Presidential candidates and one woman even became a viable candidate for President. All that is good. Women have come a long way since 1920.
But if we ever needed a reminder that equal rights under the law needed to be protected, these last few months have highlighted the need for women to stand up for what is right and claim their determination to control their own lives —especially when it comes to health issues.
I don’t usually get bent out of shape or use this blog to vent my political views… but the recent attacks on women’s health issues and their rights for self-determination are driving me crazy. It doesn’t matter if you are pro life or pro choice… women should have the right to claim their own decisions without the government getting in the way, in the doctor’s office or in the bedroom.
So there. I’ve said it. Today’s a great anniversary. I applaud all those women who long ago stood up against fierce opposition and sacrificed so much so that I can vote this November. I intend to make my vote count. You should too.
What do you think?