Release date: Mar 22, 1895 (France)
Director: Louis Lumière
Inventors: Charles H. Townes · Theodore Maiman · Gordon Gould · Alexander Prokhorov · Nikolay Basov
May treat: Acne · Sebaceous cyst
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. The ERA has always been highly controversial regarding the meaning of equality for women. It was “feminist against feminist”, said historian Judith Sealander; the result was the eventual defeat of the ERA. Middle-class women generally were supportive. Those speaking for the working class were strongly opposed, arguing that employed women needed special protections regarding working conditions and hours. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress and was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification. It seemed headed for quick approval until Phyllis Schlafly mobilized conservative women in opposition, arguing that the ERA would disadvantage housewives.
Congress had set a ratification deadline of March 22, 1979. Through 1977, the amendment received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications. Five states rescinded their ratifications before the 1979 deadline. In 1978, a joint resolution of Congress extended the ratification deadline to June 30, 1982, but no further states ratified the amendment and so it did not become part of the Constitution. Several organizations continue to work for the adoption of the ERA.