The ERA Is Essential to Democracy

Gender equality is the backbone of a free and fair democracy … which is why the fight to enshrine equality into the U.S. Constitution is foundational to Ms. and has been so since the magazine’s inception. Today we are closer than ever to securing the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution—just as the real-time need for its protections couldn’t be more alarmingly urgent.

For Women’s History Month 2024, we proudly dedicate this installment of Women & Democracy to the bold future of the ERA. This curated series answers key questions: What will it take to fully and finally recognize the ERA as the 28th Amendment? How strong is public support for the ERA? (Spoiler alert: VERY.) What are modern state-level ERAs already accomplishing? And how will the ERA help turn the tide against rollbacks to abortion and reproductive freedom in our post-Dobbs society?

Among the site’s content is a deep dive and dedicated podcast about a major judicial ruling in Pennsylvania that shows the power of leveraging the ERA to support abortion rights. And the hits keep coming: In recent weeks, an appeals court in Minnesota deemed denial of emergency contraception a form of sex discrimination, just as a district court required Nevada Medicaid to pay for abortions under the state Equal Rights Amendment.

We are grateful to partner with the ERA Project at Columbia Law, the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center at NYU Law, and our publisher, Feminist Majority Foundation, as well as a variety of guest experts—and, as ever, to work every day with activists and organizers moving and shaking to make change, especially colleagues at the ERA Coalition. If you are inspired by this Women & Democracy installment, we invite you to join the fight for the ERA; take action here at

Women & Democracy is our collaborative series, spearheaded by Ms. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR PARTNERSHIPS AND STRATEGY, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf. Each quarter Ms. will publish a new microsite, together with a dedicated partner, that focuses on key issues impacting full and fair representation in our democracy.

  • Pollster Celinda Lake on the Impact of the ERA in 2024 Elections

    Abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment hold great salience in the 2024 election among voters, according to Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. A poll conducted for Ms. and Feminist Majority Foundation in September 2023 shows:

    • Seventy-four percent of voters support a person’s right to make their own reproductive decisions, including abortion, contraception and continuing a pregnancy.
    • Threats to democracy and abortion/women’s rights were the second and third top-of-mind issues for all voters after inflation. Fifty-nine percent of voters consider themselves feminists.
    • Voters are overwhelmingly in support of the ERA: It is a universal value for Democrats and very strong with Independents, especially Independent women voters.

  • Gender-Based Violence & the ERA: A Discussion About Sex Equality and U.S. v. Rahimi

    The Supreme Court will soon issue its decision in United States v. Rahimi and determine whether a federal law banning people from possessing guns while under a domestic violence protective order violates the Second Amendment. This video explores how the Equal Rights Amendment could reorient how the legal system responds to gender-based violence and features experts Victoria Nourse, Ralph V. Whitworth professor in law at Georgetown University Law Center; Julie Goldscheid, professor of law at CUNY School of Law; and the ERA Project’s Naomi Young.

ERA on Broadway

The ERA and Heidi Schreck's 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

by Kathy Bonk

What does the Constitution mean to me, to you, and to everyone living in the United States? These are questions being asked more and more as the 2024 election approaches and with the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) just a handful of congressional votes away from becoming the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. Read more

Walter McBride / Getty Images

Coming to Broadway: ‘Suffs’ Explores the Struggle for Women’s Equality—One That’s Far From Over

by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf

We at Ms. magazine are counting the days until Suffs arrives on Broadway, following its sold-out, extended run at New York City’s Public Theater. Called a “remarkable, epic new musical” by Variety, the show boldly explores the victories and failures of a struggle for equality—one that’s far from over. Read more

Deborah Feingold

Ms. Studios

On the Issues with Michele Goodwin

This Episode: How The ERA Can Secure Reproductive Freedom

The fight to enshrine gender equality in the U.S. Constitution is more urgent than ever. The Equal Rights Amendment could prove pivotal in securing not just the promise of equal protections in the eyes of the law, but by providing crucial protections when it comes to reproductive rights in the wake of Roe’s overturn. Nobody knows this better than Susan Frietsche—who recently secured an incredible victory for women in the state of Pennsylvania in terms of then power of the Equal Rights Amendment as it relates to reproductive freedom. In this episode, we delve into how Susan’s work sets an important precedent for protecting women’s rights—and how it relates to the fight to secure the federal ERA in the Constitution.