We Heart: John Oliver’s Call to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

This month marked a major milestone for women in the U.S.—the 100-year anniversary of the House and Senate passing the 19th Amendment. (Next year will mark the centennial celebration of its ratification.) John Oliver celebrated the occasion by calling for the next logical step in the fight for women’s full political equality: ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

On a recent episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the host boiled down 96 years of history into a 15-minute ERA explainer—and told viewers how the ERA’s 24 words could make a massive difference in the lives of women across the country.

“Laws can be rolled back by a simple act of Congress; policy guidelines are based on who’s in charge,” Oliver said. “A constitutional amendment like the ERA is more stable.”

Oliver applauded the bipartisan support for the measure, and he roasted “pre-Internet Internet trolls” for leading the opposition campaign against the amendment. (“If your view on abortion requires that men and women not be explicitly equal,” he noted, touching on the conflation made between the ERA and abortion rights by its opponents, “you may want to rethink your view on abortion.”)

Calling the ERA “a safeguard against things sliding further backwards,” Oliver also pointed to the expiration of the Violence Against Women Act and the Trump Administration’s moves to rescind Title IX guidelines protecting the rights of survivors as proof of its enduring relevance.

“None of this is that complicated,” Oliver asserted. “Equality for women should be a basic principle of our society. If you think it already is, great, all the more reason for us to write it down. And if you think it isn’t, then we badly need the ERA.”

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Join the fight to make discrimination the basis of sex unconstitutional. Tell your Senators and Representative to lift the deadline on ratifying the ERA.


Rachel Kennedy is an Editorial Intern at Ms. and Associate Opinion Editor for The Daily Princetonian. A Bostonian by birth and a feminist by choice, she hopes to empower women by sharing their stories. She is particularly interested in covering maternal healthcare, women activists, pop culture, and politics. Rachel currently studies History, Journalism, and African American studies at Princeton University.