NOW is a proud supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment and prioritizes Constitutional equality in our work. We are closer than ever to having the ERA enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, giving women explicit protections in our nation’s highest law. The progress we are making towards women’s equality can be lost at any time because those advances depend on legislation that can be (and has been) weakened or repealed by Congress.
As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, August 26, it seems like a good time to take stock. Predictably, we find a mixed record of modest advances towards equality and the stubbornly persistent inequalities. Here’s a quick rundown, starting with the important advances.
The role of women in the military has long been a contentious issue, one plagued by sexist notions that devalue women’s physical abilities and emotional maturity. Many feminists will recall that Phyllis Schlafly, architect of the Stop ERA movement, asserted that the Equal Rights Amendment would subject women to the draft and for that reason and a few others like unisex bathrooms, the amendment should be opposed. Well, here we are in 2016 closer to what feminists urged: equal treatment for women and men when it comes to military service.
Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Javier Perez de Cuellar, Kurt Waldheim, U Thant, Dag Hammarskjöld, Trygve Lie, Ban Ki-moon. What do all these names have in common? All of them have been United Nations secretary-general in the 70-year history of the organization, and all of them are men.
NOW members, friends, celebrities and special guests gathered at the conference hotel for our grand 50th anniversary celebration, June 24 – 26. And what a celebration it was!