Feminists Rally in Support of the ERA with One Message: #NoTimeLimitOnEquality

Feminists Rally in Support of the ERA with One Message: #NoTimeLimitOnEquality
Clockwise from top left: Mae Whitman, Retta, Christina Hendricks, Dolores Huerta, Andra Day, Ashley Argota, Alfre Woodard and Kate Walsh.

For nearly 50 years, generations of feminists in the U.S. have marched, lobbied and advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)—a simple but crucial amendment that would enshrine gender equality in the Constitution. And all the while, protectors of the status quo have taken extreme measures to block their path.

But now that the House voted Wednesday, Mar. 18, to remove an arbitrary deadline on ERA ratification, it’s about time the Senate follows through with its vote.

That’s why Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) and Ms. partnered with trailblazing feminists—from actors to activists—to make sure the message is heard: There is no time limit on equality.

“We are one Senate floor vote away from adding the ERA into the Constitution so that our generation and all future generations will not face persistent sex discrimination, but rather will have new opportunities under the law,” said Ellie Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and long-time ERA leader.

The amendment would have a tangible impact for equality of all genders:

“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 Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this Article. This Amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.”

It was first passed by Congress in 1972, but the required 38 states did not ratify it until a Virginia legislature vote in January 2020—the result of hard work by grassroots organizers.

“For the last four generations, feminists like myself and the likeminded men and women here today, have been marching, lobbying, attempting to win lawsuits, and defeating anti-ERA legislators. And today we say, ‘enough is enough,'” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) after the House voted to remove the time limit on the ERA’s passage.

“Can we really look our daughters and our mothers and our sisters and our nieces in the face and say, ‘I’m sorry, there’s a time limit to you getting equality in America’?” asked Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.).

Finally, we don’t have to. The House eliminated an arbitrary deadline, 38 states have voted to ratify, and eight in 10 adults support adding the ERA to the Constitution. In 2021, we aren’t taking no for an answer.

If you agree, head to erayes2021.org where you can directly contact your U.S. legislators, share your ERA story, and find an ERA Toolkit with ready-to-post social media images and other advocacy resources. You can also share your story by emailing myERAstory@msmagazine.com.

And check out our gallery of videos in support of the ERA, updated regularly and featuring dedicated feminists that we know and love:

Retta, Mae Whitman and Christina Hendricks of “Good Girls”

Dolores Huerta

Alfre Woodard

Andra Day

Kate Walsh

Ashley Argota

Jackie Tohn

Elizabeth Ho

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.