After 100 Years, the Equal Rights Amendment Matters More Than Ever

Statement by National NOW President Christian F. Nunes 

The word “woman” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution, and to the privileged white men who wrote it, many of them slaveholding, that was a feature, not a bug. 

These men didn’t want women to own property, vote, or have bodily autonomy. They saw women’s rights and status as secondary to men’s rights, and they wanted to keep it that way. 

The fight to fix this constitutional mistake began in earnest one hundred years ago, when the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first introduced in Congress. 

But equality alone is not enough. To truly achieve equal justice under law we must disrupt and dismantle the very systems of oppression and white supremacy that perpetuate injustice. 

There are more threats today to women’s health, safety, and economic security — what the framers called “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — than we have seen in decades.  

Many people, particularly young women, just assume that because they live in the United States, their rights are equally protected in the Constitution. But the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision took away 50 years of abortion rights and brought home the extent to which the nation’s founding document shuts them out.    

Generations of women have endured a system that generally pays them less, values them less, respects them less, and treats them as second-class citizens. The principles of democracy, equality, and justice we revere are made hollow by the systemic, sex-based inequality, and structural gender discrimination baked into our laws. 

Congress must pass the two ERA resolutions introduced in the House and Senate and affirm the ERA as the 28th Amendment of the Constitution.   

We must have constitutional equality NOW!

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