Briefly summarize what the proposed “Equal Rights Amendment” would do and the problem its proponents say it will solve.

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was intended to enforce equality in all aspects of the law for all persons regardless of gender. It's wording specifically said:

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 Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Although "gender" might have been a more genteel word rather than "sex," the opponents of the Amendment insisted on its inclusion as a way of making the Amendment offensive to many and thus less likely to gain passage.

The Amendment was intended to see that women were treated as equals with men, both in employment, services, etc. They should be paid the same as men and treated the same as men. The Amendment was intended to eradicate the "glass ceiling" that many women faced; and also dissipate the notion that a woman's place was in the home.

Although the Amendment passed both Houses of Congress, it failed to gain ratification by the required number of states. At the behest of the National Association for Women, Congress extended the original deadline of seven years to fourteen; but many states still refused to ratify it. In fact, many states which had ratified it rescinded their ratification. As of this date, the ERA is a dead issue and is unlikely to gain passage any time soon.

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