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What is the significance of the Equal Rights Amendment (1972)?

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What is the significance of the Equal Rights Amendment (1972)?

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The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was significant because it represented a major step (albeit a failed step) in the move towards women's rights.  It is also important because it shows how much conflict there was in the 1970s over social issues.

The ERA was proposed as a way to give women equal legal status to men.  This was a major goal of the women's rights movement.  However, the furor over the ERA and its eventual defeat showed that there was still a great deal of resistance to change.  There were enough people who strongly supported the traditional, male-dominated society to defeat the ERA.

The ERA, then, is a symbol of the cultural conflicts of the 1970s.

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The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed modification to the US constitution granting equal rights to women. After its passage through the Houses in 1972, it was sent to the State for ratification. Only 35 out of the required 38 ratifications were obtained by the deadline of 1979. Five states withdrew their ratification and no new state ratified it till the extended deadline of 1982. The bill failed to become a law as a result.

The bill was significant as it provided recognition to the growing role of women in society and also pointed to ongoing gender-based discrimination, especially in the workplace. Women were no longer confined to homes, but were also making strides in the professional world and needed recognition for their efforts. The failure of the bill was an indication that male-dominated society was not yet ready to provide equal footing to women and/or that women were ready for an all-out fight to obtain their rights. 


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