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First introduced in 1923, Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) ratification has been stalled for decades. The ERA simply states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
The UAW was the first major union to support the ERA. The Union passed a resolution in support of the Constitutional amendment at its convention in 1970 and advocated for the ERA’s passage through the Women’s Department, under the leadership of such notable figures as Olga Madar. The UAW set a progressive standard for organized labor on formalizing gender equality.
Through the support of the UAW and other progressive organizations, the ERA finally gained approval in the House of Representatives in 1971 by a margin of 354-24. The ERA came before Senate the following year to overwhelming support with a final count of 84 to 8. The ERA was just three states short of ratification in 1982, and has been reintroduced in every session of Congress since 1985 without making it onto the floor for further action.
Committing her life to the cause of gender equality, Alice Paul first proposed the ERA and fought tirelessly for its ratification. Read about her life and continued legacy through the Alice Paul Institute.