Mothers Need the Equal Rights Amendment

Now more than ever, mothers need equal rights in the work place, equal pay, and the same rights that men have in their daily lives.

Mothers Need the Equal Rights Amendment
“What this pandemic has shown us is that our nation treats its mothers as its social safety net, and it has set us back decades in our fight for equality,” writes Saujani. (Creative Commons)

When schools closed over a year ago in response to this pandemic, many mothers found ourselves in impossible situations. If we were lucky, we got to work from home—logging in to Zoom a few feet away from our kids, keeping one eye on our work and the other eye on teaching our kids to read and write. And when we weren’t working or helping with remote school, we were doing the laundry, buying groceries, keeping our family safe. 

One year later, with schools still closed and our child care structure still broken, moms are getting crushed, and we’re exhausted physically and mentally. We’re also financially devastated. We’ve lost our jobs, added a third shift, been forced to live in our cars, or have moved in with our parents. We are holding on by a thread, and so are our children. 

What this pandemic has shown us is that our nation treats its mothers as its social safety net, and it has set us back decades in our fight for equality.  Our hard-fought gains towards gender parity have vanished. We have lost almost 30 years of economic progress in nine months. Moms are losing their jobs at three times the rate of fathers. And women of color have been hit the hardest, losing their jobs at four times the rate of white women. 

And yet, amid this national emergency, we still don’t have a national paid leave policy. We still don’t have universal child care. And we still have not passed the Equal Rights Amendment.

Now more than ever, mothers need equal rights in the work place, equal pay, and the same rights that men have in their daily lives. We need a Marshall Plan for Moms—a 360 plan to get moms back to work and rebuild from the ground up. And as part of that, we need to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment. That is the only way we reverse the damage done by this pandemic and get us back on track towards equality. 

In the coming weeks, Congress has the opportunity to remove a critical barrier to passing the Equal Rights Amendment by extending the deadline for the ratification, which would be a huge step forward at a time when mothers are lacking protections and support from their elected leaders. 

Mothers can’t do this alone. We need everyone standing in our sisterhood to get this accomplished. That’s why I’m asking all of us to call on Congress and demand that they clear the way to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment once and for all. It’s an important step in valuing, respecting and compensating mothers for their unseen and unpaid work. 

Tell Ms.: My ERA Story

First introduced in Congress in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment at its core consists of just 24 words: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Almost a century later, constitutional equality is yet to be enshrined into the U.S. Constitution—yet it’s as important today as it ever was.

With the ERA finish line in sight, Ms. wants to hear from you: the generations of feminists who marched, rallied and campaigned for the ERAShare your ERA story—or that of your family!—with Ms. and we’ll publish it along with many others. Include a photo if you have one.

You can share your story in one of three ways:

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About

Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, an international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology while teaching girls confidence and bravery through coding, and the founder of the Marshall Plan for Moms movement.