(by Monisha Bansal, CNSNews.com) – Liberal Democrats in the Senate and House plan to resume “the fight for women’s equality” on Tuesday, when they reintroduce the Women’s Equality Amendment.
Sens. Ted Kennedy (Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, both of New York, plan to join Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, in making the Tuesday afternoon announcement.
This time around, supporters say they hope “women will finally achieve official equality in America.” But a conservative group said women’s rights activists are “fighting old battles.”
First proposed in 1923, the ERA states: “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 amendment passed both houses of Congress in 1972 but it fell three states short of ratification and lapsed ten years later.
The proposed amendment would affect issues ranging from hiring and wages to restrictions on women serving in military combat units.
This year, organizers say the ERA has more than 190 original co-sponsors.
“It’s been a long, hard fight for women’s equality,” Maloney said Monday at the Women’s Equality Summit hosted by the National Council of Women’s Organizations in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve achieved a lot for women — even in my lifetime,” she said. “But we have not done enough.
“There is still a great deal of discrimination out there,” Maloney argued, citing income disparity between men and women, gender-based “discriminatory clubs” and “gender-based hate crimes.”
“Discrimination is real; it’s out there,” Maloney said. “They are constantly trying to roll [women’s rights] back.
“It’s never going to go away until we pass the women’s equality amendment,” she said.
Maloney said the House Judicial Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and civil liberties will hold hearings on the ERA.
Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, raised doubts about the activists’ agenda.
“These are topics that are 30 years old,” she told Cybercast News Service. “A lot has changed in those 30 years, and it seems that agitating is a way for them to justify their existence.
“They claim to be speaking on behalf of all women, but they obviously don’t,” Wright said. “In this country, women have it awfully good, and that’s why so many women from other countries are trying to get here, to the U.S.
“If they were truly concerned about women’s equality, what they would look at is the horrific way women are treated in other countries around the world,” she said.
“There’s a very serious problem of gender imbalance around the world,” Wright argued, pointing to “sex-selection abortion,” inheritance rights, property rights, and “literally being treated as second-class or sub-class human beings.”
“If these women truly cared about inequality, they would be focusing their attention on these horrific injustices happening in other countries,” she said.
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1. List the Congressmen who are joining the president of the Feminist Majority in reintroducing the Women’s Equality Amendment (ERA).
2. What does the ERA state?
3. a) What is the usual procedure for adding an amendment to the constitution?
b) Why wasn’t the Equal Rights Amendment ratified in 1972?
4. For what reasons does Carolyn Maloney, president of the Feminist Majority say a women’s equality amendment needs to be passed?
5. a) Why does Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, think the Feminists are reintroducing the amendment?
b) What does Mrs. Wright think they should focus on instead?
6. a) Do you think women are treated unfairly in the U.S.? Explain your answer.
b) Is a Women’s Equality Amendment necessary today? Explain your answer.
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