Virginia just became the 38th state to ratify the ERA. This is me dancing to that news.
Seriously, this is a big deal. We are at a real moment of reckoning on women’s equality. So many of us are deeply invested in creating a fairer country—we’re sharing our stories of sexual assault and harassment and filing cases saying #MeToo, we’re protesting in the middle of the week against abortion restrictions and bans, we’re demanding equal pay, and we’re knocking on doors and running for office in record numbers.
This energy comes from a raw awakening after our country elected a candidate who bragged about committing sexual assault and who promised to jail women who have abortions. An awakening that burst open in the biggest march our country—and the world–has ever seen. And that is still enflamed – and ready to fight — after the Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in spite of Christine Blasey Ford’s credible testimony of sexual assault.
We crave gender equality. We demand gender equality. And we are doing everything we can to get it, including ensuring that the ERA is a part of our country’s DNA. Simply put, we want – nay, demand – our foundational legal document fully affirm our right to be equal in this country.
And we push to include the ERA in the Constitution alongside all of our other work to create a more perfect union. This includes passing bills that address equal pay, eliminate restrictions on abortion and expand access, protect workers and students from sexual harassment and violence, protect students from discriminatory school disciplinary actions, protect pregnant workers, and raise the minimum wage – including for tipped workers. It also includes pushing for a better child care system, a fairer tax code that supports – not pushes down – women and their families, and a health care system that comprehensively addresses health disparity, including the maternal mortality crisis. And of course this list goes on and on.
Our country has a long way to go to achieve gender equality, and it will take legal win after legal win and cultural shift after cultural shift to get there. Every win builds to this bigger vision.
But, guess who isn’t on the right side of this issue? Just take a wild guess.
Trump’s Department of Justice.
Just to catch you up: last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memo saying that they don’t think the ERA can be ratified because states missed a congressional deadline to do so. The DOJ opinion comes on the heels of the Attorneys General of Alabama, Louisiana, and South Dakota filing a case also arguing that the ERA cannot become part of the Constitution. I am not surprised by this cast of characters taking the side of being against gender equality (surprise surprise their states all have passed severe restrictions on abortion). But they can’t and won’t win.
Because we – meaning all of us – won’t let them. ERA, gender equality, and a more perfect union, here we come!