The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was defeated because of its popularity throughout its ratification and women opposing the Amendment itself. The ERA was an Amendment introduced to the United States that gave equal rights to every gender. This meant that there would be no differences between a male and a female in terms of a divorce, work, etc. This Amendment was seen as the only way to eliminate gender discrimination. In 1923 the idea was first brought to Congress by a group called the National Women’s Party. However, amending the Constitution is a very difficult process.
Congress gives the Amendment to the House and the Senate and get two-thirds of the House and the Senate to vote in their favor. After the Amendment gains a majority vote it must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. Even though Congress passed the ERA and the future seemed bright. The states did not ratify the Amendment. Therefore, the Amendment died off by 1982.The ERA failed for multiple reasons, however, one of the main reasons that it failed was due to its popularity in every population. According to Document A, Thomas J. Reese felt that is was very hard to get a majority of a population’s vote and pass an Amendment.
He believed that the tactics present were enough to destroy the ERA. This is because the tactics prevented the movement from getting the support it needed to become ratified. What is ironic is that the tactics of the pro-ERA groups that basically hurt themselves. Their protests included bra burning, showing their breasts, and language not allowed in public. These things sure did bring a lot of attention, however, it lost them votes and overall the whole Amendment because people feared their actions.
The movement was not considered to be a minority whatsoever in fact, during the period of ratification the numbers were doubling. According to Document H, this movement spoke more to the younger generation. At 81% the age range from 18-25 was substantially higher. As people age their concern for issues goes down. The youth see what is happening around them today and do not want to grow up in an environment where women are treated as lower than men. Women of this day and age did not want to be treated as the lesser gender and hence by the 1970’s they began to push the ratification hard. In this era, women felt like they had something to prove.
The region was also a great factor the East and West coast at 79% supported the movement more than any other region. This is predictable because where you live most likely determines your outlook and views on life. It was not surprising that the south had the lowest percent out of all the regions. This is because the south pushes the idea of superiority. This can be seen continuously throughout history. Just one example of this is slaves, for so long they disobeyed the United States and kept slaves because they didn’t see them as an equal person.
This can be directly related to the ratification of this Amendment for these women. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean everyone woman supported this movement. Phyllis Schlafly was a leader of the Stop ERA campaign that went against the ERA. Phyllis along believed that the ERA would bring unwanted changes to the women of America. She mocked the feminists that supported the ERA because most of them were divorced. Numberless amounts of women backed Phyllis and her beliefs up. This can be seen in Document B written by Ann Giordano in Ms. Magazine.
She was a community member that the ERA was ruining family values since a lot of the women in the movement were divorced or unmarried. She couldn’t comprehend how they were speaking out for the married since they couldn’t understand the married people’s lives. She didn’t know why these women were pushing so hard for gender equality. She thought a man’s job should remain a man’s job and vice versa. To prove her point she uses her husband’s past heritage and says that for him to be doing housework or any jobs that were considered to be for female then he would have lost his manhood. Another example of this is found in Document C. This document is talking about the draft, if the ERA was to be passed, then that would mean that the men only draft would become immediately unconstitutional. The Stop ERA advocates did not want to be drafted so they knew they had to protest peacefully.
One way they protested against the draft was that they hung signs around baby girl’s necks that said, “Please don’t draft me.” This protested work. The states became hesitant to ratify the Amendment and so the ratification slowly came to a stop. Killing the Amendment in 1982.
In conclusion, Amendment 27 is still not in effect today due to the failure of the ERA. The ERA failed because of during the ratifying process the tides quickly sifted and states were no longer voting in its favor. Another reason is that many women opposed it. Many states saw this Amendment as useless because it was supposed to make an equal society for every gender especially women. This Amendment was brought to Congress by a woman who wanted a change. However, when so many women go against this change, it can be seen as not important. This is why the Equal Right Amendment ultimately failed.