What the 2019 Election Victories in Virginia Mean for the Equal Rights Amendment

“We are finally within reach of true equality for girls and women in the United States,” Jessica Neuwirth and Carol Jenkins, co-presidents of The ERA Coalition, said in a statement late last night, after feminist victories in the 2019 elections were announced across the Old Dominion State, “thanks to the voters of Virginia and supporters across the country.”

(Lorie Shaull / Creative Commons)

Virginia’s state legislators attempted to ratify the ERA earlier this year, but after the Senate advanced the effort it was squashed in the House of Delegates. Now, with a Democratic majority in both chambers, Virginia is poised to ratify the groundbreaking Amendment, which would enshrine gender equality in the constitution—and if they did, they would be the 38th and final state needed to push the Amendment over the ratification threshold nationally.

“In January of 2020, these elected officials will take up ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment,” Neuwirth and Jenkins explained. “They stand a very good chance of becoming the 38th and final state we need to ratify this amendment into the U.S. Constitution.”

Politicians who ran and won in Virginia this year promised as much, according to a report by CNN.

As they celebrated their sweep in Richmond, top Virginia Democrats promised the ERA would be a priority in 2020.

“One thing we are going to need to do right away is pass the Equal Rights Amendment in a Virginia,” state Senate Democratic leader Dick Saslaw told a cheering crowd. “It’s high time we include the women of this country in the Constitution of the United States.”

Eileen Filler-Corn, who is in line to become the state’s first female House speaker, also delighted supporters with a call to “pass the ERA!”

…Both of Virginia’s US senators are Democrats, as are seven of its 11 US House members. A number of the new state delegates-elect in Virginia campaigned on their support for the ERA. The grassroots group VAratifyERA live-tweeted the victories of “equality delegates,” who are expected to back the amendment, as the results came rolling in.

Read more about what Virginia’s elections mean for the future of the ERA on CNN.


Carmen Rios is a feminist media-maker and movement-builder. She's currently a Consulting Editor at Ms. and the host of Bitch Media's Popaganda podcast, and was previously the Managing Digital Editor at Ms. and the Feminism Editor, Community Director and Social Media Co-Director at Autostraddle. Her work has also been published by outlets like the Atlantic's CityLab, BuzzFeed, ElixHER, Feministing, Girlboss, Mic, MEL and Everyday Feminism; and she is additionally a co-founder of Webby-nominated Argot Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @carmenriosss.