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Equal Rights Amendment facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

The Equal Rights Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution in the 1970s and 1980s. It would give men and women full equality under the law. Alice Paul first wrote the ERA. In 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time. It passed both houses of Congress in 1972 after the National Organization for Women protested outside the United States Senate. Some people opposed it because women were already becoming equal in most areas, and women did not want to be drafted into the Vietnam War. Though 35 states ratified it, the amendment did not pass (38 were needed). Most of the states that did not ratify it were in the Southern United States, which is the most conservative and religious part of the country.

Twenty-one states have a version of the ERA in their state constitutions. Sixteen of those states ratified the federal ERA. Five did not.

The ERA was introduced into Congress each year from 1923 to 1972. It has been reintroduced in every session of Congress since 1982. In 2011, it was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by 159 House cosponsors and several senators.


The following is the entire text of the Equal Rights Amendment:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

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