Zonta International is a global organization of individuals dedicated to building a better world for women and girls. The Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center is a tool for our members in the United States and other individuals who share our commitment to gender equality to take action to improve the lives of women and girls. With your help, we can make a difference. In addition to the actions below, click here to support our joint efforts with UNICEF USA to end child marriage in the United States.
Congress placed a seven-year deadline on the ratification process before it was extended to 1982, but only 35 states had ratified the ERA when the deadline passed. As of January 27, 2020, the 38 states needed for certification of the ERA to become the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution has been reached.
In January 2023, lawmakers introduced a bicameral, joint resolution to affirm the ratification of the ERA and take a critical step toward enshrining equality for women in the U.S. Constitution. S.J. Res. 4 and H.J. Res. 25 remove the arbitrary deadline for ratification of the ERA and recognize the amendment as a valid part of the Constitution, with the 38-state threshold needed for ratification of the ERA having been met.
Please urge your representative and senators to co-sponsor and support S.J. Res. 4 and H.J. Res. 25. If they have already sponsored or co-sponsored the bill, you can send a message of thanks.
Ratifying the ERA, which states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex,” would affirm women’s equality in our Constitution, enshrining the principle of women’s equality and an explicit prohibition against sex discrimination in the nation’s foundational document.
As the 28th Amendment, the ERA would serve as a new tool—for Congress, for federal agencies, and in the courts—to advance equality in the fields of workforce and pay, pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, reproductive autonomy, and protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. Enshrining this protection in our Constitution also ensures enduring protections for all Americans across the country.
It would also signal to the courts that they should apply a more rigorous level of review to laws and government policies that discriminate on the basis of sex, making it more likely for discriminatory laws and policies to be struck down.