Today in History: The United States Congress sends the Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for women. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman. In 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress and went to the state legislatures for ratification.
The resolution in Congress that proposed the amendment set a ratification deadline of March 22, 1979. Through 1977, the amendment received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications. Five states later rescinded their ratifications before the 1979 deadline, though the validity of these rescissions is disputed. In 1978, a joint resolution of Congress extended the ratification deadline to June 30, 1982, but no further states ratified the amendment before the passing of the second deadline, leaving it three short of the required threshold. Several feminist organizations that dispute the validity and the permanence of the ratification deadline, along with also disputing the validity of the five rescissions, continue to work at the federal and state levels for the adoption of the ERA.
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