What Can the Equal Rights Amendment Do for Women? – Stephanie Kasko

One of the questions asked, especially by opponents of the ERA, is what it can do for women that isn’t already possible. There is a sense that the protections that the ERA would extend to people are already possible and/or present. That’s certainly not the case, though. 

One of the most important things that the Equal Rights Amendment can do is explicitly include women in the constitution. Women aren’t currently mentioned anywhere in the language of the constitution (Bleiweis). As Grace Bowie talks about in her blog post, developing inclusive language can normalize equality between genders and help change the perception of men’s roles and women’s roles. 

There are also more concrete things the Equal Rights Amendment could do to help women (and, perhaps, anyone who isn’t a cisgender, straight man). One of the best examples of this is the Violence Against Women Act. An original provision of the VAWA included the ability for victims to sue their abusers in federal court, but it was struck down by the Supreme Court as being outside the purview of Congress. But encoding equal rights and protection for women into the constitution could open the door for similar provisions to be put in place, and create pathways for more victims to get justice (Bleiweis).  As Ashley Weldon talks about in her blog, the lack of avenues for women to speak about their experiences with gender-based violence is part of what stops gender-based violence from being properly acknowledged and combatted. Enshrining women’s equal status in the Constitution could go a long way towards helping combat issues such as gender-based violence in the US. 

 

Bleiweis, Robin. “The Equal Rights Amendment: What You Need To Know.” Center for American Progress, 29 Jan. 2020, 4:05pm, www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2020/01/29/479917/equal-rights-amendment-need-know/.

https://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/20Sp_Global_Cultures/2020/02/27/the-limits-of-linguistic-change-in-social-reality-grace-bowie/

https://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/20Sp_Global_Cultures/2020/01/28/russia-and-gender-issues/

  2 comments for “What Can the Equal Rights Amendment Do for Women? – Stephanie Kasko

  1. bag4dh
    April 11, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    I want to thank you for writing this post. I think it is very important to bring up how women were left out of the language of the Constitution as well as people of color and immigrants. I find it crazy to see that in 2020, women unbelievably still don’t have equal rights in the Constitution. Explicitly stating that women’s equality is a fundamental right and including that in what is considered the nation’s legal bible will definitely normalize equality between both genders. Women can finally feel equal to their male counterparts and feel just as important and respected as men do.

  2. Grace Bowie
    April 22, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Stephanie! I really appreciate your articulation of the importance of legislation protecting women’s equal rights under the law. I completely agree that VAWA is an extremely important piece of legislation, especially right now as domestic abuse becomes a prominent issue in the time of quarantine. Survivors are potentially forced to socially distance in unsafe homes and situations with abusive partners. VAWA and the ERA are important steps that must be taken by our government to protect women and ensure justice for all.

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