IvyLee Rosario – News Writer –
Southern held an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) conference on Wednesday, Sept. 19 to raise awareness of the importance of passing the amendment.
“We hold these conferences to re-ignite the sense of urgency for the Equal Rights Amendment,” said Yi-Chun Tricia Lin, director of Women’s Studies at Southern.
“To raise awareness for people in the audience not knowing there have been decades of struggle and long fights to get this passed. This has to do with not just women, but also the community at large.”
The ERA has brought upon a nationwide effort to bring equal rights to women across the globe.
“I find it so frustrating that there is so much resistance for having it written in the constitution. We need this clearly stated to protect women’s rights and have equality not on the basis of sex,” said Rosalyn Amenta, a member of the Women’s Studies program and one of the founders of the Masters Degree Program for Women’s Studies at Southern.
“We need this clearly presented to prevent people from finding loopholes in the system that take advantage of women.”
Alice Paul, who held doctoral degrees in Civil Law and Economics, first introduced the ERA in 1923. Congress did not pass the ERA until 49 years later in 1972, but put a seven-year time limit for ratification by 38 states. Between 1972 and 1977, 35 states passed the ERA, three short of ratification. Congress voted to extend the time limit in 1979 for three years, but no additional states ratified the legislation. On June 30, 1982, the time limit for ratification expired. A new ERA has been introduced every session since.
“I am frustrated, actually more like pissed off about this issue. 49 years is way too long for something this important to have to wait,” said Gary Holder-Winfield, representative of the 94th Assembly District of New Haven.
The ERA sheds light upon several different issues that deal with the mistreatment of women in our everyday lives and how most people think that there are already equal rights for women in the constitution. From the issues in the workplace dealing with pay between gender and the effects of child bearing while having a job, many employers to this day have specific stigma’s regarding women.
“Today, 97 women serve in the two houses of Congress, many own their own businesses, but we as women still face many obstacles in the job market,” said Natalie Holder-Winfield, quoting an official statement from Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.
“Women still make on average around seventy to seventy-five cents to every dollar earned by a man. We still have a long way to go; I hope the discussion on the ERA will inspire all to get involved, and let their voice be heard.”
Representatives from all over the nation have tried to bring attention to the Equal Rights Amendment and stay active with spreading the word on what the ERA could bring to women and how it would change their lives.
“Seven out of 10 people believe that we do have an Equal Rights Amendment already, but we don’t. When asked nine out of 10 people believe that there should be an amendment specifically protecting women’s rights,” said Cathy Holahan, wife of United States Senate candidate representative Chris Murphy.
“Consequence of that is that so many of the protections we have, are there because of specific laws that had to have been passed.”
Today’s students are urged to vote and express their thoughts about the government because in order for the ERA to be passed, in addition to future amendments and laws, every generation needs to get involved and stay active.
“This generation of students now has the power to do so many things and change this world in such a great way,” said Amenta.
“We need to put people in office that will support the same ideas that we all see as important and ultimately this generation will have the power.”