Arkansas can make history for Womens’ Rights
Women are not officially recognized in the U.S. Constitution, but Arkansas has a chance to make that change. State Senator Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) is introducing a resolution for Arkansas to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Equal Rights Amendment says, “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 U.S. Congress passed the E.R.A. in 1972. Shortly afterward 34 states ratified it. However, since then the effort has stalled short of the 38 states needed to amend the U.S. Constitution. But just last year, the Illinois Legislature ratified equal rights for women, bringing the total number of states to 37.
That means Arkansas is now presented with a historic opportunity. Arkansas has the chance to be the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Arkansas has a chance to make history, and to enshrine the rights of women in the U.S. Constitution.
“The law is overdue, culturally and legally. Many Americans assume that the United States already has gender-equality rules. After all, the Civil Rights Act, Title IX and the Equal Pay Act all offer protections against discrimination. But these are pieces of legislation. New laws and Supreme Court rulings can diminish their power.
An amendment, by contrast, would force a constitutional reckoning for sex-based discrimination. Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential campaign, the sexist responses to it and the election of Donald Trump prompted a wave of women’s activism that has resurrected this once-dead amendment.
But the question remains: Can women’s rights activists overcome entrenched racial and class divides to unite on a single issue the way they once did on suffrage?”