A moment of reflection in anticipation of Women’s Equality Day

Tomorrow (August 26th) marks Women’s Equality Day — a moment to reflect on, and honor, the women constitution makers who fought for the 19th Amendment and the continuation of their work in our battle for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

More than 100 years after the 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote, we continue to defend fundamental sex equality in our democracy. Far from being the ultimate goal of suffrage leaders, the 19th Amendment was envisioned as a starting point towards the achievement of full and equal citizenship for all people in the U.S.

Today, the need for a constitutional ERA is more urgent than ever. Reproductive rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, among other fundamental rights, are being stripped away. Voter enfranchisement, gender parity across government, public and private sectors, and equal participation in the home, the workplace and in schools remains elusive. The promise of equality is even further out of reach for women of color and that gap is widening in alarming ways.

At the ERA Project, we are working hard to make the ERA a reality. Here are some recent developments:

In collaboration with the Brennan Center and Ms. Magazine, today we published this State ERA Tracker, which summarizes the current status of state ERAs and serves as a starting point for our work on developing model policy agendas for state level executives.

Check out the state ERA tracker

For an in-depth discussion about the state of gender justice on Women’s Equality Day, we invite you to watch ERA Project Director, Ting Ting Cheng, Academic Advisory Council Member, Professor Julie Suk, and other experts speak on a National Women’s History Alliance panel commemorating Women’s Equality Day.

Watch the event recording

Our work in the world

Key Equal Rights Amendment activists long avoided tying it to abortion. A group of teenagers is changing that.

August 17, 2022

Barbara Rodriguez, The 19th

But it’s the abortion discussion that has maybe drawn the most attention from older activists.

“For a long time, it was kind of, ‘Don’t talk about that.’ Or, ‘That will just scare off the Republicans, or that will make people in Congress not support the ERA,” said Ting Ting Cheng, director of the ERA Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University. The ERA Project has written legal analysis that ties the ERA to abortion and LGBTQ+ rights. “Whereas for us, it’s sort of, ‘What would you be fighting for if it wasn’t for fundamental bodily autonomy to begin with?’”

What the Equal Rights Amendment could do — and would do — is protect abortion access and put gender protections into the Constitution. This is important in this moment, post-Dobbs, considering that the Supreme Court seems to be relying on this idea that something needs to be explicitly in the Constitution to be considered a right. - Candace Bond-Theriault, Director of Racial Justice Policy & Strategy, Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

The latest battle over abortion rights in Pennsylvania is all about the state constitution. Here’s what to know.

July 12, 2022

Jonathan Lai and Jeremy Roebuck, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“You’re starting to see this ramp up” across the country, said Ting Ting Cheng, director of the Equal Rights Amendment Project at Columbia Law School. “Lawyers are starting to take a harder look at what equality arguments they can make that are based in their state’s constitutional law.” ... “Pennsylvania may be one of the most interesting test cases in the country,” Cheng said. “It’s not exactly black and white, and it really is up to the democratic process — the executive branch, the legislators, and the courts — working with and against each other.”

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