Whatever Happened to the Equal Rights Amendment?

One of the hottest political issues of the 1970s was the move to add an Equal Rights Amendment for women to the U.S. Constitution.  It looked like a sure thing until a conservative backlash stalled its ratification three states short; 35 states ratified, but 38 were needed.  The initiative failed.

Yet today nobody talks about amending the Constitution to include equal rights based on sex.  Women’s rights are pretty much taken for granted.  What happened?

Recently I listened to an interesting podcast that helps explain how the legal landscape changed.  It was through the usual process of litigation and one woman played a huge role — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is now a Supreme Court justice.  And it involved selecting the right cases to support, like men being discriminated against for beer sales.

If that interests you, the program is Radio Lab Presents: More Perfect, the podcast title is “Sex Appeal”, and it can be found at https://www.wnyc.org/story/sex-appeal .

By the way, listening to More Perfect is an excellent way to gain insight to the workings of the Supreme Court.  The rulings the court makes affect us all.

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