Free «Equal Rights Amendment» Essay Sample

This paper is aimed at reviewing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as it highlights the reasons that hindered its enactment during the 1970s.  The review will be based on an article by Sara Evans, "American Women in the Twentieth Century.'' The Equal Rights Amendment would legally prohibit any form of sex discrimination and affirm equal enjoyment of constitution rights by both women and men. This ERA was endorsed by congress but unfortunately it was not ratified within the stipulated deadline of 30th June, 1982.

Several opponents of ERA emerged in the 1970s. Most noteworthy was male hostility towards the dynamic gender roles. The male chauvinistic government did not embrace the incorporation of women in the work force at the expense of family life. In addition there was predominant cultural anxiety on women equality. The feminism movement advocated for abortion and women liberation. The later entailed  a paradigm shift on women roles as they would no longer be constrained to domestic family life since they were quite capable and free to pursue any profession. This feminist agenda elicited immense outrage and opposition. The anti-abortionists who also comprised of women were incensed and lobbied against the ERA (Sitkoff, 398).

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Surprisingly a significant number of women led by political activist Phyllis Schlafly vehemently opposed the ERA.  Phyllis was very outspoken in her condemnation as she highlighted the adverse effects ERA would have on women. The very concept of equality would take away the preferential treatment enjoyed by women in the work force and in the running of government operations. According to Phyllis, equality meant that women would not be excluded from labor intensive jobs.

Her most convincing argument touched on the enlistment of women in the ongoing draft. All young men above the age of 18 were legally obliged to the draft. Ratification of ERA would end any form of inequality and create a legal leeway to allow for women enlistment in the draft. These implications united the public against ERA and hence its subsequent failed ratification (Sitkoff 399).

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