40TH ANNIVERSARY OF CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
HON. CAROLYN B. MALONEY
OF NEW YORK
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, since I was elected to federal office, I have been a champion for women's equality and have introduced the Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, for the last 15 years. I will continue to advocate for this important legislation until women are included in the Constitution.
Despite determined efforts by many dedicated activists, the ERA has never become part of our Constitution. On the 40th anniversary of the Congress passing the Equal Rights Amendment, I was joined by a number of speakers who spoke about the importance of equality for women. I submit their comments below to demonstrate the wide support for this Constitutional amendment. It is my great hope that we will soon realize a time when my bill does not need to be reintroduced and speeches and events to raise awareness of the ERA are not needed; simply put, a time when the ERA has been adopted and true equality has finally been achieved.
SENATOR BIRCH BAYH
REMARKS ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENTM BIRCH BAYH
To Bobbie Francis and Members of the NCWO-ERA Task Force:
I'm sorry I can't be there to share interesting conversations with all of you. I particularly appreciate the invitation from Bobbie Francis to join her and all of the friends of the NCWO-ERA Task Force in discussing an issue that has been close to my heart for more than 40 years.
Recent events have seen an assault on those who provide health care services to women and we have even seen questions raised anew about issues like contraception. It may have been 40 years since we passed the ERA in Congress but the reasons why many of us tried to write women's rights into the Constitution are still with us today.
As the Chief Senate Sponsor and floor leader of the Equal Rights Amendment, I remember well the intensity of the battle we fought in the early 1970's. America's history has been a steady expansion of individual rights, beginning with the expansion of the franchise in our early years. From the rights of former slaves after the Civil War to the expansion of the vote for women and then for 18 year olds, we have codified in our Constitution an ongoing commitment to individual rights. It seemed fitting then, and seems fitting now, that our Constitution speak loudly and clearly that the law allow no discrimination on the basis of gender.
While the principles involved in this battle remain, the country has evolved quite a bit since 1972. In 1972 there were 2 women in the US Senate and 13 in the House of Representatives. Now there are 17 women Senators and 75 Congresswomen. There were no female Governors in 1972 and had been only 3 in all our history before that, there are 6 now. We have had a female Speaker of the House and have scores of CEOs, business owners and leaders in all walks of life who are female. The number of women elected to state legislatures across the country is larger than ever before. The number of women in the military cannot be compared to the numbers 40 years ago. And in a recent